Inspired by the vision of past generations, the Aboriginal owners of the Northern Territory’s Twin Hill Station have built a robust floodplain cattle venture, achieving award-winning land-management milestones.
Story By Kerry Sharp
At a time when most of Australia has wound down for the summer, the pace ramps up on Twin Hill Station on the Northern Territory’s Finniss River floodplain, two hours’ south-west of Darwin.
The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is traditionally one of the busiest for the Twin Hill Aboriginal Corporation, which manages the 375 square kilometre pastoral enterprise on the edge of majestic Litchfield National Park, on behalf of its traditional owners.
From first light, mustering helicopters swoop over the wetlands, rounding up thousands of grazing cattle destined for overseas markets. Back at the homestead yards, it’s a case of all hands on deck to draft, preg-test and truck out the mobs in time to meet the multi-decked export boats waiting in Darwin Harbour.
Twin Hill Station is regarded as one of the Territory’s best cattle finishing-off properties, with key pluses being its nutritious dry season grasses, all-weather road access and close proximity to the Port of Darwin. This means the cattle don’t have to be spelled between leaving the station and reaching the port. The station’s core commercial business is agisting and fattening cattle for other northern stations that feed into the Asian live-export trade. It grazes around 12,000 head of mostly Brahman cattle a year. The station owners also run a herd of Brahman breeder cows and recently purchased 10 composite bulls as part of plans to revamp the breeding regime to improve productivity and bring in extra income for the station’s land-management program to ensure the sustainability of its precious resource.
“We are blessed with excellent grazing conditions in the dry season,” Twin Hill Station manager Calvin Deveraux says. “A client made the comment one day that you could throw a crowbar into that floodplain grass and it would come out looking fat, too!"
This Story is from Issue #101
Outback Magazine: June/July 2015