CENTRAL Queensland’s best known foodie John Morris has come to another fork in the road - and its time to sell his showpiece beef property midway between Rockhampton and Mackay.
Mr Morris may have started out as a humble butcher but he finished up feeding the multitudes through international defence force catering contracts. Yet he always cherished a dream of someday swapping all those knives and forks and plates for paddocks and in the process re-establish a family connection with CQ coastal cattle country that stretches back five generations.
He grabbed his chance in 2001 when the Japanese developers of the Capricorn Resort at Yeppoon reached their own fork in the road.
The Iwasaki family had big plans when they purchased Tallawalah. Not to grow beef, but as a bush retreat for Japanese honeymooners.
The 8200 hectare (20,263 acre) property was nestled in a picturesque valley just off the Bruce Highway between Rockhampton and Mackay.
It featured rainforests, towering trees, 360 bird species and Claireview Creek that runs clear clean water all year round.
All those Japanese honeymooners probably headed to Hawaii instead because the Iwasakis had a change of heart and figured they’d probably invested enough in romantic CQ projects to last a lifetime. But Mr Morris knew a strategic approach to pasture improvement and the property’s infrastructure could turn Tallawalah into a highly productive commercial beef enterprise without impacting on any of its significant natural assets.
The ace up his sleeve was water. Tallawalah’s micro-climate virtually traps moisture-laden clouds along the eastern escarpment of the Connor Rages and drops an average 1100mm on the improved pastures.
Strategic grazing and management have not only reduced age of turnoff, pregnancy rates of 93pc and average daily live weight gains of 800g/animal. Even allowing for its conservative current stocking rate of 3600 livestock units, Tallawalah produces about 800,000kg of beef a year.
Tallawalah will be auctioned in Brisbane on April 11. Contact Chris Holgar, 0411 177 167, or Geoff Warriner, 0408 687 880, CBRE, or Pat O’Driscoll, 0418 792 571, Pat O’Driscoll Real Estate.
The story Water and pasture delivers for CQ’s Tallawalah | Video first appeared on Queensland Country Life.