SA's Collinsville merino sheep station listed by Handbury clan

Paddy Handbury and his wife, Helen have listed the historic 56,000 hectare Collinsville sheep station in South Australia.

The Burra station was the cradle of the influential Collinsville Merino bloodlines. 

But the genetic sheep stud line is not on offer as the Handburys will continue that stud in the Booborowie Valley, where the family has 1600 hectares. and the 350,000 hectare Arcoona Station at Woomera, in far north South Australia.

Paddy and Helen Handbury - he's the nephew of Rupert Murdoch - also retain The Rises at Balmoral in their pastoral heartland, western Victoria.

Collinsville last traded in 1995 for around $7 million when it was a 47,000 hectare stud running 18,000 merino sheep.

It was being offloaded by receivers for the prominent West Australian breeder, Neil Garnett who had paid $10.5 million in 1985.

After a fateful meeting between Garnett and bank boss Tim Marcus Clark at the 1989 Burra show, the State Bank of South Australia had lost around $30 million within two years. The loan warranted an entire chapter in the 1991 Auditor-General's investigation into the State Bank of South Australia collapse. 

The Handbury's, who are the third owners of the famed station, are auctioning the property on November 21 through Ray White Clare Valley agent Geoff Schell. With the first inspections only taking place today, there's already talk the place will fetch $5 million plus.

The history of Collinsville dates back to its establishment in 1895 by Henry Collins after the release of land to small settlers in the Mount Bryan district of South Australia, about 2.5 hours from Adelaide.

Collins’s main successor was his youngest son Arthur, or Art, as he was known. Tom Padbury was the first outsider, staying on as stud master until the mid 1990s.

Collinsville set world record merino prices for decades, which during the 1980s reached hysterically high levels.

The peak was when a merino secured $450,000 at the 1989 Royal Adelaide Show ram sales with the buyer, Richard Nitschke of Willogoleche Stud at Hallett, actually only get to own three-quarters of the world's most expensive ram, effectively valuing it at $600,000. The previous record of $330,000 was paid by the late developer Mike Gore for all of a Collinsville sire at Dubbo in 1988. And before than in 1987 a two-year-old ram, also sold to Richard Nitschke, for $215,000.

Title Tattle notes the stud celebrated a triumphant return to the ram sales at the Adelaide showgrounds after a 14-year absence with its top price ram making $39,000, the highest price at Adelaide for more than 20 years.

The merino rams bred in harsh saltbush conditions have been sold to clients from the tropics of Queensland to the lush paddocks in Tasmania.

Representing the single, largest volume genetic wool type in the world, Collinsville rams have sold to all major wool producing countries around the world including Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, New Zealand, USSR, China, South Africa and the United States.

"The family are restructuring their interests," Mr Schell told News Ltd papers.

Paddy Handbury was involved with several property projects over the years, including the Moonah Links golf course estate on the Mornington Peninsula, and The Sands in Torquay.

BRW Rich Lists over the years have put the Handbury family, led by Helen and Geoff, as worth $100 million plus.

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of Australia's most respected property journalists, having been at the top of the game since the early 1980s. Jonathan co-founded the property industry website Property Observer and has written for national and international publications.

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