A rare opportunity has arisen for a cashed-up buyer to acquire one of the signature properties of southern NSW, and thereby to become only its third family owner in 170 years. On offer is historic Bundarbo Station at Jugiong, the rural estate – until his death in July this year aged 78 – of former media heavyweight Sam Chisholm and his wife Sue.
He bought “Bundarbo” for a reported $2.7 million in 1995 from the Osborne pastoral family, whose successive generations had held the Murrumbidgee River-fronting property since 1847.
It was one of several Murrumbidgee runs taken up at that time by the family’s pioneer forebear, Henry Osborne, who had passed through the area during an epic overlanding trip to Adelaide in 1840.
Originally a holding of 65,000 acres, “Bundarbo” today is a still-substantial property of 2103 hectares (5918ac), with a carrying capacity estimated at 20,000-24,000 DSEs.
The property is now to be sold by the executors of Sam Chisholm’s estate, and Chris Meares of Meares and Associates in Sydney has listed “Bundarbo” for private sale.
It is being marketed on a walk-in, walk-out basis including its top-ranked Hazeldean Angus herd, and while no asking price has been disclosed, it’s expected the sale will gross upwards of $30m. Mr Meares said the offering was likely to generate huge interest both within Australia and overseas due to its prized position, its scale, its productivity and its impressive lifestyle features.
Situated 15 kilometres south-east of Jugiong, “Bundarbo” boasts a 4km frontage to the Murrumbidgee, and about 160ha of rich alluvial flats sown mostly to irrigated lucerne and pastures. From there, the country rises to gentle slopes and low hills topped by extensive plateau, most of the country being sown to high-performance pastures regularly topdressed.
The pasture program has been devised by respected Tumut-based agronomist Mark Lucas and the property overall has been managed for the past 10 years by resident manager James Renshaw.
Average rainfall over the past eight years has been 746mm and the property is watered by a gravity-fed reticulation scheme from the river plus spring-fed creeks and dams.
The original pise homestead, set in 20ha of riverside parkland incorporating an Edna Walling garden, has undergone extensive renovation and expansion over the past three years.
To the original four-bedroom homestead with its formal sitting room and separate dining room, the owners have added a billiard and games room and an open-plan commercial kitchen with dining area and sunroom.
Complementing the refurbished homestead are two new three-bedroom guest houses, a swimming pool, clay tennis court, three staff houses and five-bedroom quarters housing up to 30 guests.
An original coach-house on the property is now an informal meeting-spot known as “The Pub”, with bar, commercial kitchen and an entertaining forecourt to seat 80 to 100 people.
Although operated now as a cattle breeding and fattening property, carrying 1100 Angus breeders and followers, “Bundarbo” has also successfully run sheep for wool and prime lamb in the past.
Working improvements include a four-stand shearing shed with sheep yards, two sets of steel cattle yards, hay and machinery sheds and silos.