Heritage, excellence, a focus on family and a desire to innovate collide north of Warren, in central New South Wales, on one of Australia’s premier Merino stations “Haddon Rig”.

Story By Dave Rankine

George and Sally Falkiner relax on the balcony of Jackaroo Lodge, enjoying another magical sunset over the Macquarie Marshes with daughters Eleanor, Olivia, Grace and Florence (“Floss”). Together, they are custodians of one of Australia’s premier wool-growing dynasties based at iconic “Haddon Rig”. The nearby brick homestead with its broad verandahs sits on the banks of a billabong and a flock of wild birds seeks refuge from the heat at the water’s edge. Small boats, inflated tubes and a line full of bathers are testimony to summer days spent cooling off in the water. The 25,000 hectares that surround the lodge have a foundation in fine-medium Merino wool production that dates back to the 1800s when the country rode on the sheep’s back. George is confident this strong heritage will continue. He says of his girls: “They have a passion to continue something their forebearers worked their guts out for, over the past 93 years of family ownership.” The Falkiner family bought Haddon Rig, near Warren, NSW, in 1916 and expanded it to become a benchmark production system. Now George and Sally are working with their daughters and staff to forge new futures in wool and beef production and broadacre farming. A 400-head commercial Angus herd has been built up and about 8500ha of the farm have been developed for both dryland and irrigated cropping, covering one-third of what are now three properties – Haddon Rig, “Braemar” and “Boomanulla”. Haddon Rig produces 1000 Merino rams which are bred for annual sale as well as a range of private sales to long-term clients. It is an extraordinary stud with an outstanding history and it continues its production of Merinos that perform well in wool quality, cut, fertility and constitution.

This story excerpt is from Issue #63

Outback Magazine: Feb/Mar 2009