A Tasmanian potato farmer turned part of his land into the best public-access golf course in the country. He’s now serving up a second course.

Story By Paul Myers

You could say Richard Sattler is an aficionado of both the potato wedge and the sand wedge.
For the 21 years he has been on his 5200-hectare Bass Strait-frontage property “Barnbougle”, he has been one of Tasmania’s largest family-farming potato producers. The humble spud has enabled this jovial, knockabout former wool classer cum truck owner, publican, cattleman and operator of Hobart’s largest tourist hotel to become one of Tasmania’s most successful tourism identities. He has now developed parts of the property into two of the best golf complexes in Australia.
When he was a wool classer in the late 1960s, working on some of the biggest and highest-profile wool properties in Victoria’s Western District, Richard decided he wanted a big chunk of land somewhere. “I came to realise that I wanted to own a big rural holding … a place like those where I was classing,” he says.
On his return to Tasmania in the early 1970s, he went into the trucking business, delivering fuel around southern Tasmania, then bought a pub, which grew into a chain of hotels, and a Midlands sheep property near Oatlands.
It took the best part of two decades until he was able to make the big step: buying Barnbougle, a cattle property near the small fishing village of Bridport. Established in 1830 by the Anderson family, the property has eight kilometres of Bass Strait frontage but was marginal for grazing because of a lack of trace elements – especially selenium. Richard addressed this after purchase.
Apart from its size and farming potential, Barnbougle’s tourism appeal was a big attraction. Nevertheless, the $11 million purchase in 1989 was risky. Richard had to sell his pubs to fund the deal and, disastrously, the contracts fell through the day the infamous pilots’ strike began. “All I could see was a big brick wall,” he recalls. “It was the worst thing that could possibly happen and it just about sent me broke.” He battled on, completing the sale of the pubs a year later.

This story excerpt is from Issue #76

Outback Magazine: Apr/May 2011