25 February 2011

History of the worlds largest station, Anna Creek

Anna Creek Station is known as the largest cattle station in the world, covering an area of 34,000 sq. kms (6 million acres). It is still 8,000 sq. kms larger than its nearest rival, Alexandria Station, which is situated in the Northern Territory of Australia. The largest American cattle station (ranch) is 3,000 sq. kms.

Anna Creek Station was originally located at Strangways Springs when first purchased by Julius Jeffrey's, John Warren and William Bakewell in January 1863. The partnership mainly ran sheep and in “The Great Drought Years” between 1864 and 1866 was stocked with 7,300 sheep.  Sheep were constantly subjected to attacks by dingoes so cattle became the main focus of the station. Limited flocks of sheep were kept about the homestead for domestic purposes.  The station was relocated to its present site in approximately 1872.

John Hogarth managed Anna Creek Station until 1893 followed by his younger brother Thomas until 1913. George Warren followed for 12 months, then his younger brother Francis until 1918. The station was then sold in 1918 to Malcolm Reid and Leslie Taylor.

Sir Sidney Kidman (The Cattle King)
Malcolm Reid was a brother of Sidney Reid, who was married to Elma, a daughter of Sir Sidney Kidman (Photo). It is generally considered that Anna Creek Station came into Kidman’s hands in 1934 but Kidman did hold 33% of the Anna Creek Shareholding by at least 1927. Reid continued to manage the property until the formation of the “Strangways – Peake” syndicate in 1934 when Kidman placed his own manager, Archibald McLean, on the property.

Anna Creek Station was actually the last of three pastoral leases to be combined and be managed under a single manager (Archibald and Son, Neil McLean 1934-1954, Richard (Dick) Nunn 1954-1984, Stuart & Pam Nunn 1984 – 1994 and Grant and Tracey Mc Sporran 1994 – 2002; Randall and Tania Crozier 2002 - ). The others being:- Peake Station which has been a part of the Kidman Holdings since 1898 and the Stuart’s Creek Station component which was incorporated in 1918.

S. Kidman & Co. sold the bulk of the Stuart’s Creek Station to Western Mining Corporation Resources Ltd  in 1998 but retained the Northern most portion of approximately 1,000 sq. kms  and joined it on to their Anna Creek lease. With Kidman’s purchase of a majority shareholding in the Anna Creek Station in 1934, the three pastoral leases were combined with central management being established at the Anna Creek Homestead where it remains today.

Anna Creek Station started closed down in 2007 due to the drought conditions.  It normal runs 16,500 head of cattle with 15 people living on the station with another 3 on the outstation – Peake.  Anna Creek Station is one of 13 Kidman properties and outstations throughout Australia.

Info from Wrightsair and other news sites.
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