Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


Home of the wineglass brand

Newcastle WatersThe watercourse that in 1861 explorer John Stuart named after the Secretary of the Colonies, the Duke of Newcastle - describing it as "a splendid reach of water" - is today the lifeblood of Newcastle Waters, one of northern Australia's great cattle stations and the key cog in Kerry Packer's vast integrated pastoral empire.

Story: Paul Myers
Photos: Steve Strike

Not simply because its owner is Kerry Packer or that soon after his 1983 acquisition he built a grand homestead there, Newcastle Waters has become of the stand-out stations on Australia's most famous strip of cattle country, the Barkly Tableland.

The story behind the 10,353 sq. km station's current stature goes well beyond the big fella, an occasional visitor during his 17-year tenure, and the big house that is one of the finest in the Northern Territory.

Unquestionably, the emergence of Newcastle Waters from an unremarkable, traditionally-operated cattle station twenty years ago to today's modern beef powerhouse is due largely to the vision, know-ho and energy of Ken Warriner who, as a part-owner in the early 1980's, sold the station to Kerry Packer. In doing so he launched what has become one of Australia's top five cattle empires.

Newcastle WatersNow the managing director of Consolidated Pastoral Company's string of breeding and fattening properties across Australia - and chief executive of associated rural exporting, meat processing and property management businesses - Ken Warriner splits his time between Newcastle Waters, Brisbane and overseas assignments and, when time permits, CPC's 16 other pastoral holdings, most in the north.

A stockman and cattleman all his working life, Ken Warriner managed Mt House in the WA Kimberley and Brunette Downs on the Barkly Tableland for the US-based King Ranch organisation in the 1970s before joining Peter Baillieu and Alice Springs pastoralist Tony Chisolm to buy Newcastle Waters with its famous wineglass brand for $6 million in 1980.

ImageBut their Ashburton Pastoral Company was short-lived. When, three years later in the wake of the brucellosis and tuberculosis eradication scheme, the opportunity arose to sell to Kerry Packer - whom Ken Warriner had known for more than a decade - they decided this was the best long-term decision.

As one who has always pushed the boundaries, Ken Warriner - and for the past five years Newcastle Waters' manager Geoff Brown - have substantially boosted the station's productivity and provided options generally unavailable to Top End pastoralists. Story end

Full story: Issue 12, August-September, 2000

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