Moira Station

Moira Station

Moira Station Homestead Is On The NSW Cobb Highway, 27 Km North Of Echuca And 3 Hours’ Drive North Of Melbourne.

Moira Station was an “iconic pastoral station.”  The original station site was selected in 1842, and the current homestead was built in 1866.  Australian heritage is interwoven with Moira’s story.  It has a rich history of early pioneers, bushrangers, timber cutters, bullock teams and indigenous tribes, all who once called it home.

Its past is peppered with political intrigue, indigenous pride, colonial resilience and rural fortitude.  It was here that the “Squatter versus Free Settler” contest was fought, and that the Bushranger Captain Melville and his gang held up the station and stole horses before continuing onto Deniliquin, and it was from the Moira Lakes that leeches were taken for use in the First World War. The Moira Station property and adjoining Murray Valley National Park contain significant Aboriginal sites, including “ring trees,” canoe scar trees, an ochre pit, ovens and middens.

Located overlooking the world-renowned Cadell Fault, Moira Station sat abandoned for 30 years until purchased by Rex Watson and Kate Pitt 14 years ago.

The History of Moira Station

timeline_pre_loader

1842

Henry Sayer Lewes with Charles Throsby settled on “Moira” 15 August 1842. Edward Curr a squatter at Tongala was also in the area. In spite of constant “problems” with Aborigines, floods, mosquito’s etc., Lewes established his headquarters near the Gulpa Creek. John Oldbury Alkinson arrived the following year with more cattle & worked as overseer for 17 years.

Troopers were dispatched from Sydney & stationed at Moira for a time.

Multiple attacks on shepherds & stock by Aborigines who naturally resented the intrusion into the Moira Lakes area, with the Moira Homestead attacked 27 September 1842. This attack was repelled by gunfire from a sergeant of the boarder police.

1847

Lewes was 1 of 2 magistrates sitting in Deniliquin & was active in public affairs. He also improved productivity & invented the renowned wool press.

1848

The boundaries of the Moira Run were defined & were estimated to contain 100,000 acres & carried 3,000 cattle & 4,000 sheep.

1850

Captain Melville left Maidens Punt, committing 3 robberies on route to Moira Station, leaving 1 of his victims seriously wounded by the roadside, shot through the ankle. Captain Melville’s gang then rode off to the “near deserted Moira Homestead” & at gunpoint forced the cook to prepare a meal for them & then made off with some of the station’s horses before making their way on to Deniliquin.

1852

Improvements to the homestead included an excellent board & shingle cottage with detached kitchen & laundry, servants’ quarters, woolshed with loft, wool store, 24 stall stables, huts, etc. on 759 acres of purchased land. Stock numbered 7,000 cattle, 10,000 sheep

1859

Moira Homestead was built out of stone & comprised of 8 bedrooms. It was the 2nd drinking stop out of Moama. It was ran by Mr William Clifton who left in 1860 & Hugh Gracey became the owner. He advertised himself as one of the finest grazing paddocks on the highway & boasted of accommodation & meals. The restaurant was a Cobb & Co stopover, but was designed mainly for teamsters & closed with the coming of the railway.

1862

The Hon. John O’Shannasssy bought 5,500 cattle at 5 pounds a head with the leasehold of the property of 148,000 acres given in. During his ownership, the protracted & wide-reaching conflict between William Joachim, a selector, & O’Shannassy (later Sir John O’Shannassy) occurred at Moira.

1866

O’Shannassy built a substantial 18-room homestead with extensive outbuildings. Bricks were burned on the property & a large garden laid out.

1899

The property was sold to F.S Falkiner & Sons. By this time, the property was reduced by closer settlement to 40,485 acres freehold. The Falkiners ran a top draught-Clydesdale horse stud as well as other grazing enterprises. In 1940, 56 mares & 1 stallion were valued at 4,200 pounds, with fillies & colts, when branded, at 20 pounds apiece.

F.S Falkiner & Sons minute no 2 gives details of selectors on “Moira” in 1910, naming Tomlinson, Berryman, WM Scott, Joss, Skelly and Allyne, with improvement leases already granted to Holschier, McKindlay, Mallone, Leitch, Stokes, Skelly & Tomlinson. Many of these names are familiar Mathoura families today.

1910

John Clark brought the remaining country, the homestead block of 10,200 acres, paying 6 pounds 10 shillings per acre & this was run as the “Moira Pastoral Company”. There was a 15 stand woolshed in use & around the homestead a famous garden was developed.

1935

“Moira Station” was put for auction at Scott’s Hotel, Melbourne, It then comprised 10,200 acres freehold, 35,000 acres leasehold. However, “Moira” was not sold at the auction & remained in the Clark family until the 1960s.

Several owners controlled “Moira” during the following decades, sometimes from Melbourne. Sheep & cattle were run with some attempts at cropping in the better seasons.

1971

The “Moira Pastoral Company” was purchased by Rex Morton in 1971, sold to Les Wison & Son late the following year & was purchased by Tony and Gillian Negri in 1976. The property was then sold to Mr & Mrs Frank Millar of Echuca approx 1996.

Present

Rex Watson, a resource drilling contractor and his partner Kate Pitt, an events director acquired “Moira Homestead” in late 2003.  They have since built four luxurious accommodation quarters using original Moira Station bricks from the once sturdy but later dilapidated shearer’s quarters to the west of the station.  Rex and Kate have subsequently purchased the land on the adjoining southern boundary comprising of an additional 1100 acres and their future plans for Moira Station will celebrate its past, present and future.