Historic Kadlunga Estate, Mintaro

Updated: Jul 9, 2020

The Heritage of Kadlunga - Stately home & working farm for sale - Kadlunga ownership changes twice - The Backstory - Kadlunga sold to NT Pastoralists - Kadlunga Re-sold - Edmunds boomerang back into Central Australia - References

Kadlunga, a well-known homestead and estate built in the 1850s, is located near Mintaro, 126 kilometres north of Adelaide and 19 kilometres south east of Clare, and is primarily a cropping, sheep breeding and cattle operation.

James Stein was a pioneering European settler of South Australia’s mid north and founder of the now heritage-listed Kadlunga estate.

This estate was once the property of the Right Hon. Sir Samuel J. Way, and was situated on the north railway line, 80 miles from Adelaide, and six miles from the former Mintaro railway station. It is one of the favoured pastoral districts and enjoys a reliable rainfall, the average being about 27 inches.

  • The homestead is approached by an avenue a mile in length, planted with a variety of ornamental trees.

  • Many other plantations can be seen from the house, and the whole property shows that considerable care and money has been spent in improving and beautifying it.

  • Since Kadlunga was purchased by Sir Samuel J. Way in 1881, it was placed under the management of Mr. F. H. Weston.

Kadlunga Station in the 1800s
Kadlunga station in the mid north as started by James Stein in the 1840s
Kadlunga Homestead, Mintaro SA
Kadlunga Homestead, Mintaro SA

The scion of a Scottish whisky distilling family that fell into financial troubles, James Stein arrived in Sydney in 1833 and became a squatter, a pioneer grazier, in New South Wales.

  • In 1841, after the discoveries by John Hill and Edward John Eyre in South Australia's mid north, Campbell and Stein pioneered their own sheep runs.

  • Stein's run extended from Mount Horrocks, through Farrell Flat around the headwaters of the Wakefield River, stretching over surrounding rolling hills and plains to include parts of Burra Creek.

  • Among Stein’s shepherds were several “Afghan” men, also called “coolies”, originally brought as servants from India by E.B. Gleeson, a settler at nearby Clare. They are reputed to have named Burra Burra Creek.

  • In 1845 William Strear, a shepherd employed by Stein, found the copper ore that led to discovery of the boom Burra copper mines, although Stein gained no personal profit.

  • Carrying increasing debt, Stein became insolvent in 1848 and died destitute in 1877.

The original picturesque stone homestead buildings of Kadlunga estate, founded by Stein, were listed on the Register of the National Estate in 1978.

  • Stein built the original homestead, completed in 1857, constructed of random coursed bluestone.

  • That house was incorporated into the 1919-20 alterations, when the house was virtually rebuilt.

  • Since the rebuilding little has been altered, having been in the Melrose family since 1916. The building is in good condition and is well cared for.

Stein established this homestead on a tributary to the Wakefield River, in a valley beneath Mount Horrocks, and named it Kadlunga, an Aboriginal word for 'sweet hills', after the abundant honeysuckle located there at the time.

  • However, the property was also known as Katalunga in its early period.

  • The two-storey homestead was renovated in 1919-20, and is surrounded by park-like grounds.

Sir Samuel Way, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia purchased the property in 1881. His Kadlunga Station later became a merino sheep stud and Percheron horse stud, successively owned by

  • John Chewings (1859-1937), geologist and anthropologist, who was born at Woorkongoree station, near Burra, third son of John Chewings, pastoralist, and his wife Sarah, née Wall.

  • (Sir) Samuel Way (1836-1916), chief justice and lieutenant-governor of SA. In 1872 he also bought Montefiore, a North Adelaide mansion where he spent the rest of his life; while at the Bar he also bought Sea View, a farm near Noarlunga; on his property at Kadlunga he grazed the improved Shropshire sheep which he had introduced into Australia. He was delighted when a great pastoralist greeted him in Sydney not as the chief justice, but as 'the breeder of Shropshires'.

Alexander John Melrose, (1860-1938), pastoralist, was born at Rosebank, near Mount Pleasant.

In 1884 he began management of another Melrose property, Ulooloo, which was a combination of two stations, Kadlunga and Wookongarie, in the mid-north.

With the Kapunda grazier, Henry Dutton, Melrose purchased the 12,900 hectare North Booborowie station in 1897 for £98,000, taking responsibility for its management.

Melrose was also a significant shareholder in the Broken Hill Proprietary Co. Ltd. In 1910 the government, anxious to achieve closer settlement and provide farmers with a greater amount of good land, had purchased the North Booborowie property.

  • Provided with ample wealth, Melrose became a prominent philanthropist, giving generously to a number of charities and institutions.

  • His best known bequest was £10,000, given to the Waite Agricultural Research Institute in 1927 to finance its chemistry laboratory. Melrose was knighted in 1928 and the following year the laboratory at the Waite Institute was named in his honour.

Kadlunga has been in Mr Gosse's family since it was acquired by his grandfather, South Australian grazier Alexander John Melrose, in 1916.

  • The younger John Melrose, had a help, Margaret Armstrong, who lived in a small cottage nearby. Margaret was involved with our National Trust museum for some time.

  • Margaret Armstrong was an excellent seamstress and made replica dresses for our sesqui-centenary in 1986. These are in our museum at Victoria Road Clare.

Stately home & working farm for sale for $22 million

Story by Danielle Cahill 27 Jan 2016

  • His grandson, South Australian grazier Hamish Gosse, sold his family's historic station property in the Clare Valley for an asking price of $22 million.

Mr Gosse, in his 70s, was selling the Mintaro property – with stock of 4900 merinos, more than 100 Charolais cattle and about 60 hectares of vineyards – on a walk-in, walk-out basis, with all stock and plant intact,

Elders agent Ian Jaensch said "He just wanted to move on, Hamish was looking to get out."

Hamish Gosse then moved to a small property named Montrose.

The two-storey stone Kadlunga homestead had 2367 hectares of land as part of the sale. 

The property has 36 dams, 15 bores and wells and two water licenses, with an annual average rainfall of 600 to 650 millimetres.

The two-storey stone homestead has six upstairs bedrooms, three recently modernised bathrooms, a sunroom, office, sitting room, servery/kitchen, entrance hall and large cellar. The adjoining garden has an in-ground swimming pool and tennis court.

The land, comprising 22 separate titles, has between 1000 and 1200 hectares in wheat, beans and canola crops.

  • The vineyard, established in 1998, is planted with merlot, cabernet and shiraz grapes and is leased to Treasury Wine Estates until 2028.

  • The wool production is high-yield – more than 70 per cent, depending on seasons – with the flock averaging about 18 micron.

  • Outbuildings include a cottage; sheep yards and a stone shearing shed; cattle yards; and hay and machinery sheds.

  • Plant and equipment includes two tractors, a trailer and Loxton Slasher for mowing and windrowing.

Kadlunga ownership changes twice

The Backstory:

$5m price tag for Cappeedee Station

Story by ALISHA FOGDEN 26 Aug 2010

A BUMPER growing season and high commodity prices for sheep and grain has made it prime time for selling station country in South Australia.

  • A 400-millimetre average rainfall and sound on-farm infrastructure would also have attributed to the quick sale.

  • Earlier this month, 185,600 hectare Kalabity Station, via Olary, was snapped-up by a local grazing family for about $5m,

  • while last month S Kidman & Co sold 1.2m-ha Quinyambie Station, via Broken Hill, for between $8m and $10m to Mutooroo Pastoral Company, Cockburn.

Overseas fund-backed Hewitt Cattle Australia spent about $50 million in 2016 buying adjoining Ambalindum and Numery stations, more or less due east of Alice Springs on the edge of the Simpson Desert. The properties were owned by Tim and Emily Edmunds, Hale River Pastoral Co. Numery was listed for sale around February last year.

  • Landmark State real estate manager Simon McIntyre said the sales were a reflection of the strength within the local market.

Kadlunga sold to NT Pastoralists (for $22 m.)

The historic Clare property was bought by Northern Territory cattle farmer Tim Edmunds

Advertiser story by Tom Bowden 31 Mar 2017

"IN his own words, he’s found a rare and precious gemstone – with a price to match."

Prominent Northern Territory cattle farmer Tim Edmunds is packing up his young family and relocating from Alice Springs to South Australia’s picturesque Clare Valley to polish his new treasure.

  • Mr Edmunds and his family are the proud new owners of the historic property and homestead Kadlunga, situated just west of Mintaro.

  • The sale was settled on Friday, a little over a year after it hit the market with a $22 million price tag.

  • Mr Edmunds said the prospect of owning one of the state’s best-known farming properties, and the opportunity to restore an iconic homestead, was irresistible.

More Backstory:

The Collinsville Station and merino stud

In 1889, John Collins purchased 50,000 acres of rugged, inhospitable pastoral country 26 miles north-east of Mount Bryan, in the mid-north of South Australia.

  • Within a year, John Collins had introduced his first Merinos and launched the Collinsville Stud. The enterprise was officially registered in 1895 after he purchased a draft of ewes from the Koonoona Stud, near Burra.

  • These sheep were sent from a relatively mild climate to the harsh terrain of Collinsville Station, at the beginning of what was to be Australia’s severest drought. 

  • After eight years on limited rations of saltbush, bluebush and herbage, the surviving sheep emerged as an outstanding foundation flock.

  • Famous for setting the record price of $450,000 for the sale of a ram – the highest in the world – Collinsville is one of the most recognised Australian pastoral stations and significant merino studs in Australia.

  • Art Collins, John Collins’ sixth son, took over the stud in 1918 and spent his life building an unmatched reputation among wool-growing nations, possibly the largest merino stud in S.A.

  • Remembered as the most influential Merino breeder of the 20th Century, Art was committed to building a large-framed, heavy fleeced sheep able to withstand the most rigorous of conditions and still achieve a high lambing percentage.

  • He succeeded in developing an animal that has had more influence on the national flock than any other bloodline.

  • Art’s dedication saw Collinsville achieve the unequalled feat of winning the awards for both the grand champion ewe and ram at every capital city show in the country. Collinsville exhibited sheep at all the main shows in Australia, and established a thriving market for its sale stock both at home and overseas.

Collinsville merino breeding empire sold to Adelaide businessman George Millington

Story by NIGEL AUSTIN, RURAL EDITOR, The Advertiser - September 12, 2014 9:00pm

GEORGE Millington has enjoyed the highs of business in Adelaide, but he is now throwing himself wholeheartedly into breeding merino sheep.

  • "I have a passion for breeding livestock," Mr Millington says.

  • "I think the opportunity to buy what is an iconic South Australian business, or Australian business for that matter, in Collinsville is just a fantastic opportunity.

  • "When [the owners] put the station on the market, knowing they didn't have succession plans, I approached them and said, 'were they interested in selling the stud at the same time', and they were."

He will run the two studs on Cappeedee station, near Hallett in the Mid North, which he bought in 2010.

  • The sale of Collinsville follows 19 years of ownership by Paddy and Helen Handbury, who bought the stud empire in 1995 after it went into receivership in 1991, helping to ensure its survival as one of the nation’s great suppliers of superior merino genetics.

Mr Millington is also buying the 56,093ha Collinsville station, 49km north-east of Burra, but not the Booborowie properties where the Handbury family has been running the two sheep studs.

Shock Re-Sale of Kadlunga

Historic S.A. Kadlunga station sells in large off-market deal ($40 m.)

Story by Ingrid Fuary-Wagner Jun 11, 2019

Historic S.A. Kadlunga station homestead, Mintaro, Clare Valley
Historic S.A. Kadlunga station homestead

A historic homestead and farm in South Australia’s Clare Valley has sold in one of the largest off-market sales in the state.

  • Kadlunga, a well-known homestead built in the 1850s, and the surrounding farmland was sold by Northern Territory farmers, the Edmunds family, after they bought the 2340-hectare farm in 2017.

  • The family acquired an additional 1600 hectares of surrounding farmland during their ownership and made improvements to the homestead and farming infrastructure.

  • The property had not been for sale, but a local farming family who own and operate the nearby merino Collinsville Stud, approached the owners.

The farm, which is located near Mintaro, 126 kilometres north of Adelaide and 19 kilometres south east of Clare, is primarily a cropping, sheep breeding and cattle operation.

  • A sale price was not disclosed but based on the previous vendor’s asking price of $22 million for about 2300 hectares in 2016, it is calculated the property, which has since expanded to 3900 hectares, could have sold for about $40 million.

"It's a once in a life-time opportunity to try and grab it," Mr Millington says.

  • "And to bring a stud back here and have Collinsville still based in South Australia I think it's fantastic."

  • Current stud manager Tim Dalla and station manager Tony Connell will stay on at Collinsville.

The sale was negotiated off-market through buyers agents Phil Keen and Tom Russo from Elders, but both declined to comment on the specifics of the transaction.

  • Mr Russo said some of the surrounding cropping land that was not of strategic importance to the new operation would be sold off.

  • “Given the quality of this land, and the tightly held nature of the district, this is a genuinely rare and compelling opportunity for existing farmers in the district and potential new entrants looking for instant scale”, Mr Russo said.

The Edmunds boomerang back into Central Australia ($38 m.)

Story by Property editor Linda Rowley, June 12, 2019

AS reported in a separate story tonight, prominent Northern Territory cattleman Tim Edmunds has offloaded the historic Kadlunga aggregation in South Australia after just two years ownership, as he prepares to expand his pastoral footprint in Central Australia.

Tim Edmunds has entered into a long-term contract with Tony Davis to purchase the 259,000ha Narwietooma (pictured) and the 308,000ha The Derwent and Glen Helen Stations near Alice Springs, for $38.5 million with stock, plant and equipment sold for an undisclosed sum.

  • In January 2016, Mr Edmunds and his wife Emily decided to leave the tightly held Alice Springs region after after a lengthy period, selling their Hale River Pastoral Co assets.

  • Those properties – 300,000ha