The story behind Nicholls Pastoral began 4 generations ago in 1929, when my Great Grandfather, Victor Charles Nicholls, purchased a property 55km east of Tibooburra NSW. Pindera Downs Station was the beginning of our family’s farming story and remains at the heart of our business today – both on the farm and in our Stockman n Co venture. To give you an idea of the remoteness of this property, we were 400km West of Bourke, 400km North of Broken Hill, and the closest capital city was over 710km away - ironically, not in our state (Adelaide, S.A).
In 2002, we were able to expand our property with the purchase of our neighbouring property Clifton Downs Station, which combined gave us over 280,000 acres of land. Here, we built Nicholls Pastoral up to hold over 2,200 breeding cattle. We predominantly bred Hereford cattle crossed with Brahman bulls to create a superior genetic pool capable of withstanding the harsh and often unforgiving climate. Observing market trends and tendencies, it was in 2007 that we transitioned from Brahman bulls to high-quality Angus bulls – and gained a sense of the superiority and hype that the Angus bulls provided for the future of our herd genetics and market value.
Living and working remotely was an incredible experience, but it did not come without its faults (just ask any woman in my family). Working on the land with heavy machinery, wild livestock, and nothing but open paddocks for as far as the eye can see paid some heavy consequences. Our greatest concern and reoccurring dilemma was the proximity of medical aid. As such, to say that our family is indefinitely indebted to the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) would be a complete and utter understatement. In our last few years at Pindera Downs Station, we had four separate medical emergencies where the RFDS came to our rescue, flying us over 900km+ to the nearest hospital in Adelaide (equivalent to a 9-hour drive).
The risk factors, a change in the market, and the impending cloud of a long-term drought was a compilation of events that led to one of the hardest decisions our family has had to make. We reluctantly sold the station that we had called home for over 80 years, and purchased a new home on the outskirts of Dunedoo, NSW – Kembla Station. The decision to move was not made lightly, but given the reliability of the landscape, the greater annual rainfall, and market availability (not to mention a hospital within 50km – a requirement made clear by mum), it was the necessary and best choice for our family.