As head of the Macquarie Pastoral Fund that now owns 16 major cattle stations, David Goodfellow has become a major new player in the cattle industry.
Story By Paul Myers
If David Goodfellow is feeling the pressure from suddenly emerging as a major player in Australia’s northern cattle industry and having the spotlight trained on him, he isn’t showing it.
Cool-headed and modestly self-assured, the 42-year-old part-time Victorian farmer with a string of degrees, who spends his working week in Sydney and wherever else his powerful job takes him, spent $315 million earlier this year buying six northern cattle stations to add to 10 southern properties acquired by the Macquarie Pastoral Fund in the past two years.
That’s $450 million for 16 prime grazing properties – including livestock and machinery – in the blink of an eye and during an economic crunch that has shredded the values of most assets.
With at least as much money again available in the fund he manages, the question being asked by every cattle and sheep producer and industry observer is: Where will David and the Macquarie goliath turn to next?
Not surprisingly, he isn’t saying. Already there’s enough speculation about the future moves of Paraway Pastoral Company, Macquarie Pastoral Fund’s operating entity. Suffice to say David Goodfellow isn’t finished with station purchases in the north and there’s also bound to be further property acquisitions in the south. Just where, he says, should be easy to guess.
What he will say definitively is that, “We don’t have our sights on anything in particular. We want to bed down the properties we’ve bought.” And that the opportunity to lead Macquarie Bank’s foray into the brave new world of rural property ownership and management is “the chance of a lifetime”, one he was coaxed to accept after stepping back from his previous role as manager of a private company, Mutual Trust Pty Ltd, which represents the agricultural interests of Victoria’s Baillieu family and its close associates. “It’s every farmer’s dream to be part of something like this,” he says. “The irony is that I’m now working much harder than when I took the break from Mutual Trust.”
David Goodfellow’s journey to the helm of a business that is already in the top 10 cattle companies in the country began in Unanderra, near Wollongong, south of Sydney. His father was in the fertiliser industry and his mother’s family had a fine-wool property near Yass on the New South Wales southern tablelands. He spent holidays at his grandparents’ farm, which helped him decide that he “wanted something to do with agriculture”.
This story excerpt is from Issue #65
Outback Magazine: June/July 2009