MADOONIA Downs station has changed hands and while the buyer’s name and price paid have not been released, Farm Weekly understands it was sold to a Chinese company planning to supply Australian beef to its supermarkets in China.
Station owners Ned and Gaynor Shields were not looking to leave their 391,000 hectare station, located about 120 kilometres south of Kalgoorlie, when a real estate agent asked them if they
wanted to sell.
Mr Shields, who also had two properties at Grass Patch, said no but shortly after that friends near Tamworth, New South Wales, told them about a property for sale in their area.
“Whenever anybody talks about country I prick my ears up,” Mr Shields said.
“We went over to have a look, considering we might buy a farm over there, sell the two farms and keep the station.’’
Mr Shields said he was impressed with the 6000 hectare New England property which had an asking price of $10 million.
“I love that country,” he said.
“I was like a little kid with 20 cents, you either had a can of coke or a packet of lollies but you couldn’t have both.
“Because the chance of selling the station was there and we have had some very good years at the station rainwise, it’s in a good rain area, and with the price of beef the way it is, if you were going to sell, now is the time.
“Our two farms at Esperance also sold and it all lined up.
“If you had told me seven or eight months ago that I was going to be selling up and moving I would have called you a complete and utter nutter.”
Mr Shields has for many years also been involved in contract harvesting sandalwood for the Forest and Products Commission and also does contract mining on the station.
He said family factors and a less complicated life helped tip the balance in favour of the move east.
“Half the family is over east and half is over here,” Mr Shields said.
“Where we are is 50km to Tamworth and 50km to Armidale, each with a sale each week, each with abattoirs and it is only 50km to go to see my grandkids when they go to New England University.
“It is just a completely different environment compared to what my children grew up in and what we are used to.
“So it has all happened quite quickly and we are going over there to grow first cross Border Leicester ewes and prime lambs.’’
Mr Shields was born in central NSW and was six when he came to WA with his parents.
He had not returned to NSW until September last year.