The owners of iconic Bullo River station believe profitable pastoralism and environmentalism complement each other.

Story Anthony Ham  Photo Brad Leue

The story of Bullo River Station, 360km south-west of Darwin by air or around 800km by road, is one in which many disparate threads come together. There’s the property itself, which is best known for the larger-than-life exploits of former owner Sara Henderson and her family. 

There’s the Burts’ family history: although this is the couple’s first cattle station, their families have owned pastoral properties. Julian’s great-great-great grandfather was Sir Archibald Burt (1910–1879), the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Western Australia, who owned sugar estates in the West Indies. Julian’s great-great grandfather was Septimus Burt (1847–1919), who owned up to seven pastoral properties at one time, in the Ashburton, Gascoyne and Murchison regions of Western Australia. Alexandra’s grandfather, Peter Wright, owned Roebuck Plains, close to Broome.

And there’s Bullo’s natural history, a beautiful world of rivers, red-rock gorges, and exceptional biodiversity. It was this beauty, and a love of cattle, that drew the Burts to Bullo. That, and the idea of weaving the many strands together to fashion something new, to combine in one place a commercial cattle operation, best-practice conservation programs and high-end tourism. In 2018, the Burts signed a 10-year partnership with the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) to do just that.

This story excerpt is from Issue #140

Outback Magazine: December/January 2022