Iconic Wave Hill station in the Victoria River District is now under the care of only its fourth owner in 140 years.
Story Mark Muller Photos Mark Muller and Nathan Dyer
A calm mob of good-looking Brahman cattle is walking out across strong, grassy country in the NT’s Victoria River District. Riders move along around the mob, keeping things in order as they head towards Wave Hill’s Chungamidgee yards.
Among those on the trail, talking quietly and taking it all in is a relaxed and happy Callum MacLachlan. “It’s an absolute highlight for me – spending time with the crew, on horseback, with the cattle out in front of us,” he says.
It’s been a huge couple of years on Wave Hill since it was bought in February, 2021 by the MacLachlan family’s Jumbuck Pastoral – then headed by brothers Callum and Jock – as part of a small consortium that includes the Reece plumbing family and former AFL CEO Gill McLachlan. Together they put down $104 million to secure the 1.25 million hectares that make up the Wave Hill and Cattle Creek leases, which sit 500km south of Katherine, and the 35,000 head of mostly Brahman cattle that came as part of the deal.
“There’s 3 million acres of country here, so it’s got economy of scale, which we can develop and which should equate to it being a fantastic business in the fullness of time,” Callum says.
This story excerpt is from Issue #152
Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2024