A little about our place, Kilcowera Station, a working cattle place and also Farm Stay

by Toni Sherwin
(Kilcowera Station)

Jillaroos on Kilcowera Station

Jillaroos on Kilcowera Station

Life on Kilcowera Station, SW Queensland

We have owned and cared for Kilcowera (49,210 ha) since 1980. In that time we have raised our 2 girls, teaching them primary school at home with the aid of Distance Education and School of the air, they went to boarding schools in Toowoomba at the age of 13 for further education.

Through the 80's and 90's we ran both Hereford cattle and Merino sheep on the 2 places (we also own Zenonie next door, 32,634 ha). After 5 years of drought in the early 90's we joined OBE (Organic Beef Exports) and commenced the certification process with NASAA (National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia) for organic accreditation. We were certified organic right up to 2004.

Unfortunately we found ourselves in the next drought and even though we sold all our sheep and two thirds of our cattle we had to supplement the remaining cows with a product that was not acceptable to NASAA. So we had to relinquish our organic status, however we still run the 2 properties in the same sustainable way and do not use any chemicals, HGP's or antibiotics on our pasture fed cattle.

Kilcowera abuts onto Currawinya NP on our eastern side. Currawinya was gazetted as a park in 1991. Our eastern boundary was and still is on the eastern side of Lake Wyara, part of the NP. When National Parks took Currawinya over they knocked part of our boundary fence down and graded a road to Lake Wyara.

Since then whenever the water levels are very low in Wyara we have not been able to utilize that paddock which joins Currawinya for grazing our stock as they could wander onto the park and not be seen again by us. We are talking about a paddock of 29,476 ha nearly three fifths of Kilcowera.

Greg has been negotiating with NP's managers for the last 3 or 4 years to try to come to an agreement to erect a new fence on the western side of the lake. We have given NP's in excess of 3000 ha of land and an agreement has now been reached for the erection of a new fence – even though it is still not up.

We started our foray into tourism in 2001 with the encouragement of the local Tourism officer who felt we had a special place that people would want to visit. We thought so too, even though the thought of dealing with a multitude of strangers was a little daunting.

That first year we hosted the Cobar Rotary Club on their annual rally. There were 40 odd vehicles, 85 people, beds made up (and showers!) in the shearing shed as well as the quarters, blankets, mattresses, chairs, tables and portaloos, borrowed from neighbors and also hired from various places for the event. My Mum, one daughter and a sister-in-law drove down from Mt. Isa to help us cook for the multitude and keep them all happy.

We all had a great time, they stayed for 2 nights and when they left the following morning, the organizers said they would be back and so they have been in 2007! It was a pretty full on intro into the hospitality industry.

Our little tourism business is steadily growing; we feel we must be doing something right as we have repeat visitors who appreciate the improvements we are constantly implementing around the place. We do not aspire to be too commercial or expensive but want to retain the outback feel and continue to offer guests our time, hospitality and knowledge of our place and the local area.

Editor's note: Also see Toni's 2010 update in the comments.

Comments for A little about our place, Kilcowera Station, a working cattle place and also Farm Stay

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A special place indeed
by: Birgit

Hi Toni,

Thanks for sharing a bit about your place, and that's a great photo! I have to agree with the local tourism officer. It does sound like a special place!

I hope the weather will be kind to you in future and the tourists will keep coming. I will certainly call in, should my travels take me into your area.

Please feel free to add your contact details via the comments. How else are my readers going to let you know they'll be visiting you ;-)?

Greetings from Kilcowera
by: Toni Sherwin

Thanks for putting my story up Birgit. I think your website is very interesting and portrays the Australian way of life in a realistic manner. Sometimes it takes someone from another country to really appreciate what I call the real Australia.

The visitors that come here are wonderful people. They choose to holiday in the outback and they obviously relish the uniqueness of an outback trip.

Our contact details are:
gtsherwin AT bigpond.com
Phone 07 46554960

All the best from SW Queensland, Toni.

Life On An Outback Cattle Station
by: B.J.

There's no doubt that life on an outback cattle station is hard yakka, and the likes of city folks such as myself would more than likely crumble under it's gruelling regime, but I'd sure like to experience it anyhow. Especially as the Station Cook whom I greatly admire for their tenacity and endurance of each rigorous day which begins & ends before & after everyone else.

I would like to write a novel one day about such a person, but would have to experience it first.
If I had the money to try it out, I'd do it in a flash. Yes, I'd probably wonder at my sanity for taking on such a mammoth task, but at least I would know then, what I was talking about when I put pen to paper.


Magic Experience Of Kilcowera
by: Barb & Ralph

We have just experienced our third stay at Kilcowera only this time we were the caretakers looking after visitors rather than being visitors passing through!

Toni and Greg were then able to get away for a rare holiday break together whilst we fed the dogs and did the necessary tasks including looking after the shearers quarters. Staying here for ten days was really special as we got the feel of the environment much more so, with many walks around and about, bird observing, photography and of course the enjoyment of the tranquillity and silence at night. This isolated property grows on you if only you can let it soak in by staying long enough - a night or two is not enough to absorb the atmosphere. Give it a go sometime!

So Far 2010 Has Been a Fantastic Year at Kilcowera Station
by: Toni

Thanks to Barb and Ralph for so ably looking after Kilcowera in our absence. It was good to get home again after the long drive home.

I was just reading through the article I originally put on this site and realized there have been a few changes, so will update everyone.

The negotiations with National Parks have finally resulted in a new boundary fence being erected. We now have a special permit from National Parks which allows entry for our guests onto the NP from our side. After the big rain earlier this year access to either of Currawinya Lakes has been restricted to nil from the Currawinya side. Consequently visitors can only visit Lake Wyara by travelling through Kilcowera. The countryside still looks fantastic after the rain earlier this year, let's hope it keeps on raining!

Please, please!!! We would like a few good seasons rather than more drought. We are trying to buy some cows to restock the property but they are so expensive, we can't justify spending a thousand dollars for a cow and calf.

Cheers everyone,

Kilcowera Updates
by: Birgit

Thanks for your comments, Barb, Ralph and Toni. Nice to hear what's been happening over there. Still hope to be able to visit one day.

Toni, I made a note in your original article to point readers at your updates. And I hope it keeps raining :-).

Sheep and Cattle
by: Anonymous

How many sheep and cattle were there at your station before you sold them? I have to write a text about living in Australia at school.

Stocking Numbers at Kilcowera
by: Toni

Stock numbers vary depending on the season. We would normally run 2000 head of cattle and about 6000 head of sheep in a good season.


Landlocked in Ohio, USA
by: Kathy Martin

Thank you Toni for your wonderful site. I have been to Australia twice now and have yet to visit a cattle Station. I have rode horses with Jack Lovick in 2001 and visited Tazmania in 1994.

I have a friend who lives in Victoria. We are from Ohio, in the United States. I am an author and would like to include some of the life on a cattle station in the book I am writing. Would you consider exchanging e-mails with me?

My email address is specialk5229@gmail.com and I hope to hear from you.

Kilcowera Station
by: Toni

Yes, thanks Kathy. If you want to contact me our email is on our website.


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