Iconic Aussie ranch to be sold due to export ban
AUSTRALIA’S best-known Outback cattle ranch has been put on the market by an owner who yesterday blamed the country’s ban on livestock exports to Indonesia for destroying her livelihood.
The decision to sell iconic Bullo River Station in the Northern Territory is the latest evidence of the economic hardship gripping tropical Australian cattle country since the government announced on June 8 that livestock exports to Indonesia were banned for up to six months because of animal cruelty concerns in Indonesian slaughterhouses.
The 160,000- hectare family- owned property was made famous by matriarch Sara Henderson, who wrote about it in six books including her best-selling autobiography “From Strength to Strength,” published in 1993.
It told of her family’s struggle to manage the remote and expansive ranch — known in Australia as a cattle station — after her American-born husband Charlie Henderson died in 1985. Sara Henderson retired from ranching before she died in 2005, aged 68.
Her daughter who now owns the ranch, Marlee Ranacher, said yesterday that the ban was the last straw for her and other ranchers like her in northern Australia.
Ranacher said her ranch had not sold any cattle since the region’s monsoon season set in October last year.
She said she could not afford the diesel fuel needed during the dry season to pump underground water into troughs for the cattle to drink. “I don’t know what else we can do but start shooting them. I can’t stand there and watch them die of thirst,” she said.
“If there were any way I could change this decision, I would.”