The exotic meat and leather of ancient reptiles form the foundation of a strong central Queensland business.

Story By Danielle Lancaster

John Lever is looking for a new home for one of his 3000 residents – ‘Snappy Tom’ – a huge 30 year-old Crocodylus porosus, more commonly known as an estuarine crocodile, salt water crocodile or saltie. There are not many takers today among the bus and car loads of visitors to Koorana Saltwater Crocodile Farm, 35 kilometres east of Rockhampton in central Queensland.
“We’re no different to any other stud farmer,” says John as he joins wife Lillian in the kitchen to prepare the last batch of tender crocodile kebabs. Outside, another tourist squeals and cameras flash as she holds a gagged infant crocodile. Certainly crocodile farming is not regarded as a typical agricultural industry in Australia; however it’s being embraced by the Levers with a combination of passion, economics and preservation that may elevate its stakes.

This story excerpt is from Issue #45

Outback Magazine: Feb/Mar 2006