Henbury Station

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Henbury Station is located in Northern Territory
Henbury Station
Henbury Station
Location in Northern Territory
The historic homestead at Henbury Station
Rain at Henbury Station
R.M. Williams Agricultural Holdings' David Pearse announces the sale of Henbury Station in 2011

Henbury Station is a cattle station in the Northern Territory of Australia.[1] In 2014 it was acquired by Ashley and Neville Anderson, Ted and Sheri Fogarty and David Rohan.[2] The station is running about 6000 head of cattle.[3]


It is situated about 130 kilometres (81 mi) south of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory.

Henbury occupies an area of 5,273 square kilometres (2,036 sq mi) that extends from the tops of th MacDonnell Ranges, down the foothills and across the open red plains to the Finke bioregion. The Finke River runs for about 100 kilometres (62 mi) through the property and has carved out many gorges containing permanent waterholes.[4] The property encompasses the dissected uplands and the lower valleys of both the Finke and Palmer Rivers. The region is characterised by the perennial freshwater wetlands such as Running Waters, 3-mile, Snake hole and Harts Camp that are regionally significant and the oldest wetlands in Central Australia supporting the unique biodiversity of the area.[5]

There are twelve land systems at Henbury the most prevalent of which is the Simpson's system where the landscape is dominated by spinifex on sand dunes with sparse shrubs and low trees or Desert Oak over grasses on sand dunes Mulga, Coolibah or sparse low trees over copper-burr, samphire or saltbush growing in the swales. The most productive land system is Chandler's which is widespread through the property which includes mesas, low ranges, clayey stony slopes, bluebush rises and open woodlands.[5]


The Traditional Owners of Henbury Station and surrounding lands are the Pertame (southern Aranda people).[6] They continue to live in the region and have an ongoing relationship to Henbury Station.

Parke and Walker applied for a lease for the area in 1875, naming it after their family estate in Dorset, England. The first homestead was constructed along Ellery Creek in 1877 and the 2,130 square miles (5,517 km2) was theirs.[7] A log cabin was built along the banks of the Finke River in 1886 which became the new homestead and still stands today,[7] the property was carrying 3,000 head of cattle in the same year.[8]

Both Henbury and Todmorden Station were owned by E. W. Parke when he died in 1901.[9]

In about 1902 the Mr. Breadon acquired the leasehold and experienced good falls of rain later the same year ensuring water and feed for stock for the next 12 months.[10] Breadon sold Henbury and Todmorden Station to Stan Young in 1923.[11] The Breadens had made several improvements to both runs since they were acquired, and had agreed to stay on at Todmorden for the next 12 months.[12] Young later went bankrupt seven years later and handed the property back to the Breadens.[7]

From 1956 through to 1957 Henbury and surrounding properties were struck by drought in which Henbury lost 4,000 cattle. The drought eventually broke in late 1957 when heavy rains fell causing localised flooding.[13] The area experienced heavy rains in 1967 which caused the Finke River to flood closing roads around the property for a week.[14]

Ross Morton and Sally Williams purchased Henbury in 1982 as part of a family partnership. They placed the property on the market in 2011, after more than 30 years there.[15]

Carbon Farming[edit]

On 27 July 2011 it was announced that Henbury Station had been sold to R.M. Williams Agricultural Holdings, a subsidiary company to boot maker R.M. Williams, managed by David Pearse. Henbury was purchased for A$13 million with A$9 million of funding from the Australian Government's Caring for Country initiative.[16] The property, which formerly had 17,000 head of cattle,[17] was destocked, allowing native vegetation to regenerate. The property was to be protected as part of the National Reserve System. By restoring native vegetation, R.M.Williams Agricultural Holdings planned to sequester carbon and then sell carbon credits. If successful, it would have been the first company to use the carbon market to fund a conservation project.[18]

Some Indigenous Traditional Owners were opposed to the sale, saying there was a lack of consultation. They reportedly wanted representative body, the Central Land Council, to purchase back their land and continue to run the pastoral lease as a cattle station.[16] The project also faced growing resistance from the local cattle industry. Neighboring pastoralists said the property was not being effectively managed for fire and feral animals, increasing the risk for adjacent cattle stations.[18] Some scientists also questioned the scientific validity of carbon sequestration in rangeland regions.[18]

In October 2012, R.M. Williams Agricultural Holdings re-structured the project, partnering with carbon finance company C-Quest Capital. It said it would be changing focus to include the reintroduction of cattle on some parts of the station, producing a mixed carbon farming model.[19]

R. M. Williams Agricultural Holdings went into receivership in July 2013, with PPB Advisory appointed as receiver.[20]

Henbury Station was put back on the market in August 2013.[21] In July 2014 Henbury was acquired by Ashley and Neville Anderson, Ted and Sheri Fogarty and David Rohan under trading name Henbury Unit Trust Pty Ltd[22] for between A$7-8 million.[2] It was later revealed that a large percentage of the sale price would be recovered by the Australian Government.[23] Former owners Ross Morton and Sally Williams claim to have lost $4.5 million in shares after the collapse of R.M. Williams Agricultural Holdings.[15]

Approximately 20% of the property is now protected under a special conservation covenant. The new covenant includes Running Waters, which is one of the largest permanent waterholes in Central Australia, as well as habitat linking Finke Gorge National Park and Owen Springs Conservation Reserve.[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Caddie Brain (24 May 2013). "New species discovered at Henbury Station". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  2. ^ a b Moyo, Mluleki (11 June 2014). "Henbury Cattle Station sells south of Alice Springs for over $7 million". NT News. Centralian Advocate. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  3. ^ Wilton, Mark (4 May 2015). "New owners thrive on Henbury Station". Rural Weekly. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  4. ^ "Henbury Conservation Project". Government of Australia. 20 February 2013. Archived from the original on 5 June 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  5. ^ a b Rebecca Pearse (2012). "'Henbury Station' – an industry perspective on financing conservation for carbon and biodiversity markets" (PDF). R.M.Williams Agricultural Holdings. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 December 2014. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  6. ^ "Henbury should be returned to traditional owners". Central Land Council. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  7. ^ a b c "Henbury Station". School of the air. September 2006. Archived from the original on 11 May 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  8. ^ "The Northern Territory". South Australian Register. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 30 September 1886. p. 7. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  9. ^ "Personal". The Advertiser. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 24 June 1901. p. 4. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
  10. ^ "The pastoral country". The Register. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 15 December 1902. p. 4. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  11. ^ "BIG STATION DEAL". Observer. LXXX, (5, 973). South Australia. 21 July 1923. p. 7. Retrieved 22 August 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  12. ^ "The man on the land". The Register. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 17 July 1923. p. 12. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  13. ^ "Train stranded in centre". The Canberra Times. National Library of Australia. 31 December 1957. p. 5. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  14. ^ "Touring Australia by plane". The Australian Women's Weekly. Sydney: National Library of Australia. 7 June 1967. p. 29. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  15. ^ a b Julian Luke (3 August 2013). "Collapse costs couple $4.5m". The Land. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  16. ^ a b Brain, Caddie (27 July 2011). "Giving cattle the boot in the name of carbon". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  17. ^ Jared Owens (27 July 2011). "Big red canvas to draw carbon farming on Henbury Station". The Australian. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  18. ^ a b c Caddie Brain; Di Martin (16 December 2012). "From cattle to carbon". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Background Briefing. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  19. ^ Caddie Brain; Ruby Jones (12 October 2012). "Outback carbon farming venture faces shake-up". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  20. ^ Caddie Brain (28 June 2013). "R.M. Williams Agricultural Holdings goes into receivership". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  21. ^ Brain, Caddie (28 August 2013). "Henbury Station back on the market". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  22. ^ Fitzgerald, Lauren (7 June 2014). "Henbury sold to fourth generation pastoralist". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  23. ^ a b Matt Brann; Caddie Brain (9 June 2014). "'Large percentage' of Henbury money returns to taxpayers". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 19 April 2015.

Coordinates: 24°33′11″S 133°15′09″E / 24.55293°S 133.25237°E / -24.55293; 133.25237