Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


Life on the trackOne big family farm

In the past 30 years, Clyde Agriculture has grown from a virtual ‘toe in the water’ for UK-based John Swire & Sons to Australia’s largest diversified pastoral company, one that is among the nation’s major producers of cotton, cattle, wool and dryland crops.

Story Paul Myers Photos Darren Clark and Paul Myers

Latin is not a language that figures much in contemporary Australian life, let alone on outback stations. But behind one of the most successful, fastest-growing and diversified major pastoral operations in Australia today is its parent company’s Latin motto: esse quam videri – or ‘to be, rather than to seem to be’. ‘Being’ rather than ‘being seen to be’ is very much what Clyde Agriculture, a subsidiary of the UK-based John Swire and Sons, is all about. You don’t ever hear the company that owns 15 aggregated grazing and farming properties and three specialist cotton farms spread over more than two million acres of New South Wales and Queensland crowing about its achievements. Indeed, Clyde has more than once quietly made a major property acquisition without the purchase being noted in the rural or financial press, and in three decades has gone from a small-scale sheep and wool producer to perhaps the most diversified pastoral operation in the country. Clyde’s acquisition record in the past 16 years – almost all since current chairman and CEO David Boyd, a former general manager (rural) of Dalgety Australia Ltd, took over the reins – is remarkable, and possibly unmatched since Sidney Kidman’s legendary string of property purchases in the late 1890s and early 1900s. Clyde, so named after the middle name of its founder Dudley Dunn and the river in Scotland, has made no fewer than 37 separate property purchases, and 33 of these since 1989. And while more than half the acquisitions have been strategic add-ons, in each case they have met Clyde’s criteria of owning and operating only ‘triple A’ properties – in effect the best-renowned properties, and those around or adjoining them, in a district.Story end

Full story OUTBACK Issue 37 October/November 2004

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