Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


Angus family affairPure Egelabra

With more than 125 years of breeding, Egelabra Merino stud has ensured its longevity with time-honoured traditions, including a commitment to training jackaroos.

Story Abigail McLaughlin
Photos Mark Wellington

The sun is low in the sky as jackaroos on motorbikes muster a mob of weaner rams along the picturesque Egelabra lagoon. From the front seat of his LandCruiser wagon, Cam Munro, general manager of H.E. Kater and Son (HEK), watches them, occasionally giving directions over the two-way radio until the sheep come to a standstill, their sunlit profiles doing justice to more than a century of careful breeding.

Recent rain has given the self-mulching black-to-red plains of Egelabra, near Warren on the New South Wales western plains, an iridescent green tinge, and Cam is hoping it will be the start of the sort of lush winter the Macquarie Valley is renowned for. If so, it will be a welcome break after nearly three years of drought, which has gripped not only the six properties that comprise Egelabra, but much of the Merino stud’s traditional client base across western NSW and southern Queensland. “The timing was perfect,” Cam says. “All we need now is plenty of good follow-up.”

Angus family affairAs Australia’s oldest closed Merino stud, Egelabra is best known for its productive fine-medium wool sheep, but in reality it is much more. Sheep and wool production is still the core business, but in keeping with the times, Egelabra is a modern mixed farming operation producing beef-cattle, grain, and irrigated crops, including some share-farmed cotton.
A drive around the properties – the furthest is 80 kilometres from Warren – reveals just how diverse the operation really is. In total, there are 51,000 hectares of country, most of which are historically significant. HEK’s most recent purchase, in 2003, was Colane Station, north of Nyngan, owned for more than 100 years by the Fisher family and once a Cobb & Co station. Other properties include “Eenaweena” and “Yanganbil”, which together with Egelabra are used for the Merino stud, and “Belaringar” and “Cremorne”, which are mixed farm commercial properties.Story end

Full story OUTBACK Issue 36 Aug/Sept 2004

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