‘There’s free range, and then there’s Warialda Beef.
“It’s a very different management system,” Allen, who runs Warialda with his wife, Lizette, explains. “The cows have to be able to come to me, rather than me going and finding them. They’re on over 700 hectares of forest.
“This area is surrounded with plantation timber and for many, many years we’ve been involved with the company who owns the land. We have a leasing agreement with them to reduce the risk. This negates the need for aerial spraying – which isn’t great – and also the need for bringing in machinery to keep the grass down – which isn’t ideal from a carbon footprint perspective – and we’re also able to keep an eye out for trespassers or other problems. It works well for both of us.”
It’s hard to believe Clonbinane, and all that forest, is only 55km out of Melbourne. The landscape is beautiful and you really feel as though you are deep in the country. Despite Allen’s love of the land and passion for the business, he’s technically a city boy. And the family business he grew up in was textiles. Country is in his blood though.
“My father was actually a country school teacher and he loved the life – footy, rabbiting, country-boy stuff. He met my mother there and she was from Melbourne. They decided to move back to the city and the only job he could get was in a textiles company. He worked his way up and soon started his own company. On holidays, as kids, we would go back to his old stomping ground and live the country life. Over time, we made our own friends in that area. I’m the eldest son though, so when I left school, it was assumed I’d work for Dad and he put my younger brother through Agricultural College and bought him a farm.
“In the early days of that farm, I’d bought some cattle. I always loved it. I wanted somewhere I could be close to the city for work, but still have my cattle, so I bought this place.”
An exert from the recently published book, ‘A Sense of Place’, written by Sonia Anthony and Amy Doak. To read Allen and Lizette’s complete journey and the story behind Warialda, purchase the book online here: https://oftheworldbooks.com/product/asenseofplace/