HISTORY

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Neds Corner Station has a long and varied history. It is an area shaped by the elements, sometimes in the extreme. The people who have lived on and worked the land will know it is a place that gets under your skin and leaves abiding memory. When the first Europeans arrived at Neds Corner Station, it was a very different landscape to the one seen today. Indigenous groups had used the land and waterways in and around Neds Corner Station for 13,000 years to find food, for trade and to hold ceremonies. From 1849 the 30,000ha property became an important sheep grazing station. For 150 years stockmen built fences, tended to their stock and survived the booms and busts in the market and weather that continues to buffet Australia today. In 2002, Trust for Nature bought Neds Corner Station with the aim of turning it into a flagship property for conservation in Victoria. The window of time that Trust for Nature has owned and managed Neds Corner Station may be short but it is easy to see the effects our work has had.

Early European arrivals

 

One of the first Europeans to visit the area was the explorer Captain Charles Sturt, who in the 1830s went in search of an inland sea. Other people followed and in 1849 Neds Corner Station was first settled for agriculture. Mr Edward Meade Bagot, a large landholder and investor, arrived from Adelaide. In 1869 he won the contract to build the southern third of the overland telegraph line that connected Adelaide with Darwin. At Neds Corner Station, Bagot ran cattle to start with, herding the strong stock across the dry and hot land in search of good feed and water. With the Murray River nearby, the land was perfect for grazing. From the 1850s, Bagot changed to sheep grazing and took advantage of the arrival of riverboats on the Murray River – a much more profitable way to transport wool.

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Ned's Corner

People often want to know how Neds Corner Station got its name. Many thought the property was named after Edward Bagot. However, correspondence unearthed from this era revealed that the area was actually named after an old shepherd who worked for Mr Bagot, called Ned. Shepherds would gather their mob into a group at night to prevent them from straying and to protect them from dingoes. Ned is thought to have used the loop in the river now known as Ned's Corner to keep his flock safe – a little nook in the land to rest overnight with the Murray River behind him.

In 1876, Bagot was forced to sell the property after he made several substantial losses through gold mining share speculation. The new owner, Robert Barr Smith, brought his great wealth to the area and in 1913 he formed Neds Corner Proprietors Limited which took over the leasehold.

Return from the War

 

After the First World War, the government helped discharged soldiers by providing land for agriculture and farming as a reward for war service. A group of returned soldiers formed the Neds Corner Pastoral Company and in 1920 successfully negotiated leasehold over land at Neds Corner Station. These soldier settlers built the present homestead in 1922. The group, which had expanded to 18 men by 1938, were eventually granted freehold to parts of the Neds Corner lease.

 

 

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The Kidman era

 

Through the 1940s, drought ravaged south-eastern Australia and by 1948 the soldier settlers had sold Neds Corner Pastoral Company to the Kidman Pastoral Company. The new owner of Neds Corner Station was the great historic figure, Sir Sidney Kidman. Sidney was born into a poor family, but during his adult life built an agricultural empire that encompassed 3% of Australia.

The Kidman Pastoral Company continued to manage Neds Corner Station for sheep grazing, with a flock of up to 25,000 head at its peak. Kidman diversified into cattle production and also introduced irrigation in 1955 to 121 hectares of the Station to grow pasture to fatten stock.

Kidman also greatly expanded the infrastructure and buildings at Neds Corner Station and built the Managers house and the shearer's quarters. Walter Kidman (Sidney's son) was a keen horse breeder and racer. Horse racing was enthusiastically taken up with a race track built nearby.

 

During the Kidman era some leases that sat mainly to the west of the present station and extended to the South Australian border were not renewed by the Government and were instead added to Murray Sunset National Park in 1991. Kidman Pastoral Group sold their interests in Neds Corner shortly afterwards to a local operator before Trust for Nature purchased the 30,000 ha property in 2002 to manage the land and waterways for conservation.

Help Trust for Nature to preserve this history and to continue the conservation work underway to turn Neds Corner Station into an archetype of conservation management. Donate now or contact us.