Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


Game for the Gulf
The untamed tracts and rivers of Strathmore Station, in Queensland's Gulf Country, are luring tourists keen for wilderness fishing and hunting holidays.

Story and photos John Denman

ImageWhen Dale Appleton bought his first rural property near Clermont, Qld, he had just three thousand hard-earned dollars in his pocket; the majority of the purchase price he had to borrow. Today, Dale and his wife Kris have reached the position they have been aiming for all this time. Their recent purchase of Strathmore Station in Queensland's Gulf Country has vastly increased the family holdings. Apart from this spectacular station, their other properties in Queensland include "Bulliwallah" and Mount Hope, between Charters Towers and Clermont, and "Bingeringo". Dale's philosophy is that the land is the valuable part of the equation, because it continues to appreciate. By comparison cattle prices fluctuate, so he leases back a lot of his land to other cattlemen. This was one of the important factors in his recent purchase of Strathmore; a five year agreement with cattleman Ron Earl to lease back 450,000 acres to run his own cattle. His other ideas centre on tourism.

ImageDale realised some time back that tourism is set to be one of the great saviours of rural Australia, provided you have the right location, and the right people to run it. "It's the sort of thing that should work well on Strathmore, because it's got a wilderness quality that people want," he says. In fact, people were already being attracted by that quality. "We had a lot of people coming in here, and we had to find a way to regulate who was on the place and where they were. We've invested about a hundred grand in the tourism side so far and it's a bit early yet to say whether it's going to work or not. But at least we'll have some control over who's in and where they are," he smiles.

Strathmore's 2.23 million acres are blessed with three good river systems: the Gilbert, the Einasleigh, and the Red River. The Red River is part of a 1.3 million-acre section of the station that is not used for cattle work. Infested with wild pigs, brumbies and feral cattle, it's an untamed, remote place that challenges the senses. The rest of the station is mostly open grassland and light timber, liberally endowed with picturesque billabongs, and the other two rivers snaking their way through it all. Staaten National Park, one of Queensland's biggest, butts up to Strathmore's northern boundary, adjoining the Red River section. Story end

Full story Issue 31, Oct-Nov 2003

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