ROBERT and Gloria Foard's 364ha property, Nebbor, is the blueprint for sustainable farming on a large scale.
But it wasn't always like that.
- NICHOLSON (BAIRNSDALE)
- Property: grazing/wetlands
- Size: 364ha
- Price: about $3 million
- Agent: Landmark Harcourts Sale
- Contact: Peter Gannon 0418 514 537 or Brad Obst 0417 398 026
- For sale: by expressions of interest closing Friday May 11
Nebbor - at Nicholson in East Gippsland - was once part of the much larger Lucknow Station, used in the 19th century to raise horses for the British forces in India.
The property has Gippsland Lakes and Nicholson River frontage and mix of prime grazing land and environmentally significant wetlands.
Lucknow Station spanned the 10km between the Nicholson and Mitchell rivers, the latter running through the town of Bairnsdale.
However, despite its rich cultural and environmental heritage, Nebbor was bare, save for the pristine wetlands, when Robert and Gloria bought it 25 years ago.
The Foards enlisted the help of an expert farm planner to establish all-weather roads, shelter belts and fencing to protect sensitive areas and encourage native flora and fauna.
"We have implemented precisely what we were advised to do," Robert said.
"They were adamant that the wetlands were more significant than anything else - we thought that was crazy, but it was true because everyone else had drained theirs and, as it turns out, the wetlands are very significant."
The property includes 364ha freehold plus 50ha of agricultural leasehold. Although the wetlands are included in the Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia, there are no restrictions on grazing.
"It can carry 100 to 200 breeders, depending on how hard you want to work it; we tend to understock it, but you can graze the wetlands as they are part of the freehold."
The Foards don't differentiate between the wetlands and grazing country in management, encouraging diversity in native pastures across the property.
"In the drought years, the wetland becomes very helpful as it can carry cattle when the rest of the place is not so productive," Robert said.
The property meets the Princes Highway on its elevated northern boundary and falls away to the Nicholson River (2.2km frontage) and Lake King and Jones Bay (1.75km frontage) at its southern end.
There is a four-bedroom brick house and numerous other home sites with 360-degree views of the river mouth and surrounding lakes, silt jetties and mountains.
Stock water is supplied via a bore with solar pump and reticulated system and town water is connected. A further three dams are licensed to irrigate 30ha.
Further improvements include two sets of cattleyards, a large hay shed and silage storage.
The property is 10km east of Bairnsdale and 25km west of Lakes Entrance.