Article – Gina’s $30m station coup

by 12 August 2015

26 July 2015
Brad Thompson
The West Australian

Australia’s richest woman has taken another big step toward becoming its cattle queen with the purchase of iconic Kimberley station Fossil Downs.

Mrs Rinehart won a race to secure Fossil Downs which attracted unprecedented interest from some of the biggest names in the Australian business world, including Kerry Stokes and Andrew Forrest.

Her vision for cattle production in the Kimberley through joint venture company Liveringa Station Beef was crucial in winning over Fossil Downs’ owners John and Annette Henwood.

The sale is believed to be worth about $30 million and comes 12 months after Mrs Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting secured Liveringa and Nerrima Stations as part of a $65 million joint venture with the Milne AgriGroup.

Mrs Rinehart is expected to visit Fossil Downs for the first time later this year as John and Annette Henwood farewell the cattle country pioneered by their families more than a century ago.

It is 133 years since Mrs Henwood’s family took up the land that became Fossil Downs Station and then completed the longest cattle drive in history – about 5600km from near Goulburn, NSW, through the outback and across the Top End to the Kimberley.

It took brothers William and Charles MacDonald three-and-half-years to make the trek and they arrived with 327 cattle.

Today Fossil Downs carries an outstanding herd of 15,000 mainly Droughtmaster cattle and covers almost 400,000ha where the Fitzroy and Margaret Rivers meet.

The property has a stunning two-storey homestead and comes with priceless items of great historical interest to WA, including one of the water bags carried by William and Charles MacDonald.

Mrs Rinehart will use Fossil Downs to complement cattle production at nearby Liveringa and Nerrima stations, which cover 470,000ha and carry a combined herd of about 40,000 cattle.

Elders real estate executive Malcolm French, who conducted the Fossil Downs sale, said it had attracted unprecedented interest and multiple cash offers.

“In normal circumstances you might get three or four cash offers, but what came forward surprised everyone,” he said.

“The station is in wonderful condition and has been looked after just so well that it deserved all of that interest.”

Mr French said the group of serious contenders included just one from overseas with the rest based in WA and the Eastern States.

Rinehart snags historic proparty
PHOTO: Rinehart snags historic property

Courtesy of the West Australian

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