Strong commodity prices generated significant interest in Beltana Station. (realestate.com.au)
A historically significant pastoral station in the Flinders Ranges has stayed in South Australian hands, selling at auction for $8.4 million.
The 1,541 square kilometre Beltana Station was sold in Adelaide today, along with several thousand sheep and cattle, the property’s homestead, accommodation facilities and farming equipment.
South Australian pastoralist and Yadlamalka Station owner Andrew Doman was the successful bidder.
Inside the shearing shed at Beltana, which has been a major sheep property for more than 150 years. (realestate.com.au)
Vendors Laura and Graham Ragless have owned the property for 17 years and said it was simply time to move on.
“It’s very emotional,” Laura Ragless said.
“It’s all that hard work, but now we have to go ‘we’ve settled it’, and move on to other stuff.
“All the boxes [were] ticked — cattle prices are good, sheep prices are high, goats are good, lamb prices are great.
“It’s time for us to … slow down a bit and have a break.”
Moo with a view: cows graze against the backdrop of the Flinders Ranges at Beltana. (realestate.com.au)
The couple said they were pleased the property had been bought by a local family.
“I’m really happy that it has gone to a South Australian,” Ms Ragless said.
“Amazingly, there was really no Chinese [interest] from the start.
“Being an Elder property … I’m really happy it has stayed in [the state].”
The house at South Australia’s historic Beltana Station, which has sold at auction. (realestate.com.au)
“The last bit of the negotiation was stressful, but it’s all done,” Graham Ragless said.
“It’s still sinking in — I think it’ll take a day or two.”
Beltana a ‘microcosm of the pastoral industry’
Communities formed on and around pastoral stations, including Beltana. (Supplied: State Library of South Australia)
Elders auctioneer Phil Keen said strong commodity prices had generated significant interest in the property prior to the auction.
“Cattle has softened a bit in the last couple of months, but cattle prices have been really good now for the last two to three years,” he said.
“[The former owners were] running a reproductive dorper and dorper-cross ewe flock there, and the price of lamb has been really healthy.”
The dining room at Beltana Station, which remains a key part of rural South Australia. (realestate.com.au)
Mr Keen said the property’s relative closeness to Adelaide — achievable within a day’s drive — had also made it more appealing.
“It’s on a sealed highway and the homestead itself is only eight kilometres off the highway, so there’s mail going through and freight going through two to four times a week,” he said.
“It’s not isolated these days, from that point of view.”
Shearers at Beltana Station in South Australia in the 1800s. (Supplied: State Library of South Australia)
Beltana Station was created 163 years ago, with Thomas Elder and Robert Barr Smith among its former owners.
Heritage consultant Peter Donovan, who has written a book about South Australia’s pastoral industry, said Beltana Station was an important historic property in the area.
“It was part of the pastoral empire of Thomas Elder,” he said.
“Beltana was only one of several significant pastoral stations through the area, but particularly for the Elder Smith group, this became one of the main stations.
“[When you] think of camels coming into Australia, you think of Thomas Elder bringing them out [in 1866] to provide transport through the region from the various railheads that were established [in the Flinders Ranges].”
Beltana Station was created 163 years ago and boasts illustrious former owners. (Supplied: State Library of South Australia)
Mr Donovan said small communities would form on and around pastoral stations.
“When you look at places like Beltana and allied stations, they were all about sheep, [but] they were [also] little towns,” he said.
“You had the shearing shed, which was a fundamental part of this mini-town, and that’s a feature of Beltana Station today.
“It’s like a little microcosm of the pastoral industry in South Australia.”