April 12

Golland Partnership: Six Generations of Wool Production


Continuing the longstanding history of wool production in the New England Region of Wallabadah NSW 

Golland family wool producers Liverpool Plains NSW

From left, Wayne, Judy, Jenny and Ben Golland

n the late 1800’s wool was king in Australia. Pastoral properties across New South Wales grew rapidly off the back of a thriving wool industry. It was the late 1880’s when an 18-year-old George Golland travelled via sea from Manchester to Australia. He stepped off the ship in Melbourne and began working his way through Victoria and New South Wales, moving from property to property. By 1890 he had found his way to the Liverpool Plains and was managing Colly Creek Station, when the opportunity arose for him to purchase his own 1800 acres at Basin Creek, near Wallabadah. This was an opportunity he simply couldn’t miss out on. Here, at Basin Creek, he established what would go on to become a very successful wool operation, that would pass through the family for the next six generations. 


George, alongside his wife Martha, would go on to have a large family with a number of sons working the property at one time or another. But eventually it would be Frank and Ernie Golland who would become custodians of Basin Creek and White Rock, a 3000 acre parcel of grazing country which had been purchased in the late 1940’s after a few year’s out of the family and has remained in the Golland family to this day. Over the years the property would move from generation to generation of the Golland family, breaking down parcels of land as each generation came along. Frank Golland would go on to have one son, named Harold, whilst Ernie himself two sons and a daughter named Tom, Mervyn and Melva. It would be Harold, Tom and Mervyn who would continue to work the land at Wallabadah, each taking their own portion and creating their own properties from it. Harold would have no children of his own, and as he was aging it became more important to him than ever to keep the property within the Golland family. In 1991 the family properties were brought back together. Harold Golland’s property “Glenrowan” and Tom, Barry and Wayne Golland’s property at White Rock were amalgamated in a holding totalling 12,000 acres. The Basin Creek property was owned by Mervyn Golland alongside Rodney and Mark Roseby and was subsequently purchased by the Golland family from the Roseby family in 2011 to bring the total land holding to 15,000 acres. 

Merino sheep for wool production at Wallabadah

Today the family property is run by Wayne Golland alongside his wife Jenny, son, Ben and mother, Judy. Together, Wayne and Jenny have a further two daughters, Emma who is currently at Sydney University studying Physiotherapy, and Jessica who is currently in year 12. Both girls love to get involved in life on the farm when their educational commitments allow. They can often be seen getting in amongst it at shearing in September and lamb marking in December. The family felt the loss of their grandfather, father and husband, Barry Golland in 2021, who was so fiercely proud of his grandchildren and all of their achievements as well as his family's involvement on the property.   


Unlike many of the properties in the area, which have moved away from wool production over the years, the Golland family continue to run a highly successful wool producing enterprise, running around 15000 head of sheep each year, being a mix of merino and merino cross. The family credit the longevity of the operation to the suitability of the country upon which the Basin Creek and White Rock properties lie. The rugged hill country of Basin Creek combined with the more open low country of White Rock, generate the perfect mix for lamb rearing and wool production. 


But 2024 has thrown unforeseen issues their way. An exploding wild dog population in the area has grown out of hand and has disrupted the flock immeasurably at Basin Creek. For the first time in the property’s history, the entire lambing operation has been flipped on its head to protect the flock from unprecedented losses.    

Kelpie working dogs in action at Chanbry
Sheep drenching by Stockmen at Chanbry

In a typical year’s production schedule, the Golland family would allow their merino flock to lamb in the high country of their Basin Creek and Chanbry properties. The hill country has proved a fertile rearing ground for their merino flock, whose genetics have been fine tuned over generations. The Golland family have been sourcing their rams from Cressbrook Merino Stud in Armidale since the late 1980’s and acknowledge their quality rams in the conversation around fine tuning the flock's genetics. Once their merino ewes reach around five years of age, they are then crossed with a border leicester ram, producing a first cross lamb which has proven highly desirable in the fat lamb market. The first cross flock is brought down from the hills, to lamb on the lower country. These lambs are retained for around nine months, during which time they are fattened on forage crops and grain until they reach around 50kgs. Come August they are moved on, proving popular to graziers in the south looking for a ewe ready for spring joining. This is the ideal situation, but sometimes the season may dictate that ewes are retained until September or October. This model of operations has ran smoothly and successfully at Basin Creek, Chanbry and White Rock for years. But for the first time ever this is not how things will unfold in 2024. 


An exploding dog and pig population across the Liverpool Plains has concerned graziers and crop growers alike for a few years now. Although pest control measures, such as trapping, aerial shoots and baiting have been put in place, the population continues to grow at a rapid rate. Couple this issue with a high percentage of protected and hard to access country on the Basin Creek property, the dog and pig population are taking their toll on the flock. Dogs are of  particular concern to the Golland family. They recounted instances of massive lamb losses due to dog attacks for a few seasons now. This is a loss that the flock cannot absorb year in and year out. 


For the first time, this season the merinos will be brought down onto the lower country, out of the hills and into relative safety, to lamb. However, Wayne acknowledges that even this is not a long-term solution to the ongoing issue around wild dogs and pigs. 


Consideration around protective measures for the flock has long been underway. The Golland family are faced with a sizable investment to protect their flock from pests. Many solutions have been considered including exclusion fencing, but each solution comes with its own problems and risks especially given the rough terrain posed by the Basin Creek property. The family are also faced with an issue they have never faced on this scale before, so the way forward is relatively unknown. 

Chanbry woll shed Wallabadah NSw

Above: Inside Chanbry woolshed in 2024

This conversation around technological advances assisting practices on farm took place in the 127-year-old Chanbry woolshed, signposting the partnership between old and new within the Golland Family. They are a family who have a huge amount of respect for the generations that have come before them, but who continue to evolve their practices for the longevity of their property and their livestock. The discussion around drone uses on farm comes hand in hand with the knowledge that good workers can never be replaced. Due to the terrain at Basin Creek, good stockmen, capable of handling not only stock but who produce good horses and good working dogs are crucial for the business to operate. The Golland family currently employ two permanent stockmen in Jeff Nankivell, who has been with them for 33 years, and Wayne Jones, who joined the operation in 2022. They utilise two contract musterers during the peak stock handling times, such as crutching, shearing and lamb marking. 

Mechanical sheers at Chanbry wool shed

The woolshed at Chanbry stands as a proud reminder of the history of wool production in the area. Built in 1897, the woolshed was originally part of Wallabadah Station as a blade shed for 20 shearers. In 1904, the first mechanical sheers were introduced to the shed and it continued to run in that way for some years before it was split up into the way we see it today. To one end of the shed, the original Ferrier woolpress (pictured right) remains standing 20 feet tall, a woolpress that remained in use until the 1980's when it was replaced by a hydraulic press. The woolshed remains a functional part of the Golland family wool production operation, transforming into a hive of activity come September shearing time. It is one of three woolsheds that support operations across the properties. 

Sheerers at Wallabadah Station
Sheerers at Chanbry wool shed 2007

(Left) historical image, shearers at Chanbry woolshed that was then part of Wallabadah Station

(Right)  Shearers at Chanbry woolshed 2007

Loading wool bales at Basin Creek C.1924

Loading wool bales at Basin Creek C. 1924. Bales bore the GG (George Golland) brand, the stencil of which still hangs at the Basin Creek shed today

The Golland family remains one of just a handful of wool producers on the Liverpool Plains, but they continue to operate effectively and with dedication. They hit the fine balance of taking lessons from past generations and sticking to traditional methods, like utilising stockmen on property, whilst exploring new management techniques and technologies to propel the property forward. It was a pleasure to immerse ourselves in the Golland family story and delve into the history of wool production on the Liverpool Plains, picking up on the history of the Chanbry woolshed which remains an integral part of the wool production operation for the Golland family, alongside two other historical woolsheds at their Basin Creek and White Rock properties. 

The historical images featured in this article were sourced from the NSW State Library archives. 

The image of wool bales loaded at Basin Creek can be found here: collection.sl.nsw.gov.au/record/YezVwzA9

The image of shearers at Chanbry Woolshed (then Wallabadah Station) can be found here: collection.sl.nsw.gov.au/record/nZN45b8n

The Golland Family are supported by Pursehouse Rural Quirindi. Contact Pursehouse Rural Quirindi today at www.pursehouserural.com.au/locations/nsw/quirindi/


Agriculture, NSW, Publication, wool production

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