Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


Life on the hill

Story John Denman
Photos John Denman


A stirry bull gives the mustering
crew a hard time in the yards


The main station complex at Lawn Hill

It doesn't take a genius to work out how Lawn Hill got its name. It's right there as you approach the station from any direction - a rocky knoll, topped by the main station buildings, rising out of the surrounding plains country. A light breeze keeps the dust from the yards in check, and thanks to some dedicated gardening and no shortage of water from nearby Lawn Hill Creek, the lawn is nice and green.

But down at the yards, the movement of great mobs of cattle and an almost endless procession of road trains maintains a semi-permanent ochre dust cloud that covers men and cattle. One by one, the trucks - with three trailers apiece - roll up to the loading ramp. That's how it goes in the dry season - deck upon deck of bellowing cattle are taken off the station, destined for the coast's live export ships and ultimately, Asia.

From its herd of around 55,000 crossbred Brahmans, Lawn Hill turns off around 20,000 head a year. Covering around 7000 square kilometres of some the best breeding land in Queensland's Gulf Country, the station stands out as a premium property. Owned by Brazil's Maia family from 1975, the pastoral lease was acquired in 1991 by mining company Rio Tinto, and later Pasminco. About seven years ago, Pasminco also acquired nearby Riversleigh Station (over which Lawn Hill had grazing rights until 2001), and Lawn Hill is now part owned by Pasminco and the local Aboriginal Waanyi people, who together make up the Lawn Hill Riversleigh Pastoral Holding Company, while the Maia family leases the station on a medium-term basis to run cattle. Story end

Full story: OUTBACK, October/November 2002

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