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Australia’s largest landowners buy NT cattle station for $70 million

Australia’s largest private landowners, pastoralists Donny and Colleen Costello, have expanded their cattle station empire to more than 9.2 million hectares, after acquiring Mount Doreen Station in the Northern Territory for $70 million.

According to commercialrealestate.com.au, the Costellos and their equity partner, former racing horse trainer Viv Oldfield, purchased the property along with the pastoral lease to the 733,700ha organic cattle station northwest of Alice Springs for $34.7 million.

They reportedly paid a further $36 million for 18,000 cattle, at $2000 a head.

Established in 1932 by William and Doreen Braitling, Mount Doreen Station is located on the Tanami Road, about 380km northwest of Alice Springs.

More recently it has been operated by brothers Matthew and Shane Braitling, grandsons of William and Doreen.

The station receives around 300mm of average rainfall and consistently carries well over 30,000 head of cattle in average rainfall years, with its long-term sustainable carrying capacity being 22,000 to 23,000.

The Costello and Oldfield families, through their Crown Point Pastoral Company have a portfolio of 13 stations that is now roughly three times the size of Belgium.

Other properties in the Crown Point Pastoral portfolio include Australia’s second-biggest cattle station, 1.65 million-hectare Clifton Hills Station in the far north-east corner of South Australia.

The pastoralists overtook WA mining magnate Gina Rinehart as the country’s biggest landowners earlier this year after purchasing 1.335 million-hectare Innamincka Station and 1.1 million-hectare Macumba Station in South Australia from Hancock Agriculture and S Kidman and Co.

Mount Doreen Station. Pictures: commercialrealestate.com.au

Last year, Crown Point also purchased the adjoining leases of Ruby Plains and Sturt Creek covering almost 800,000ha in the south-east Kimberley region from Mrs Rinehart, who put a $300 million offering of seven stations, one feedlot and almost 110,000 head of cattle up for sale.

The extremely private Costellos run Crown Point Pastoral from Lilla Creek Station south of Alice Springs, while Mr Oldfield – who also owns drilling company Silver City Drilling and outback trucking business Tanami Transport – is based at Alice Springs.

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a freelance journalist specialising in finance and real estate.

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