A sustainable natural water supply and 30 years of hard work by the Lines family means Coniston Station, on the edge of the Tanami, is producing premium organic beef during the country’s worst drought.

Story by Kerry Sharp and Photos by Peter Solness

It is one of the Northern Territory’s most far-flung cattle stations, fringing the Tanami Desert. It’s also a comparative minnow alongside most of its neighbours on the sweeping rangeland grazing country of Central Australia. But Coniston Station has a special attraction that sets it apart from the rest: water.
Coniston has thrived through its 80-year history on the envied surety of a sustainable natural water supply, fed by the huge underground basin over which it lies. That was why pioneering Central Australian pastoralist Randall Stafford developed the property here in 1923.
Today’s owners, Max and Jacquie Lines, constantly reflect on their good fortune at being in the right place at the right time to buy Coniston ‘for a song’ when it came up for sale in 1976. Their daughter Kylie and two sons Andrew and Chris were raised on the station through both good and difficult times. While only Chris currently works on the station, the others live in Alice Springs, NT, and visit as often as possible.

This story excerpt is from Issue #50

Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2007