Indigenous History – Wild Cherry Country

Woomargama Station acknowledges the Wiradjuri People, the Traditional Owners of the land upon which it sits, and we pay respects to Elders both past, present and emerging.

The Station has a rich Aboriginal history. The original inhabitants and the traditional owners of the Murray river area around Albury are the Wiradjuri, Waveroo and Dhudhuroa people. The word “Woomargama” is a word in a traditional language for the native wild cherry that grows in the woodland country.

There are scar tree and sacred site remnants on the Station. Our plan is to explore these historical artifacts further with the expertise and assistance of local Elders from the Wiradjuri people so that they can be fully documented and preserved. This history is important to discover and there is much we would like to explore such as the traditional Aboriginal calendar which has six seasons rather than four.

We look forward to bringing this information to light and sharing it on our website.

European History – In the footsteps of Hume and Hovell

In 1824, the explorers Hamilton Hume and William Hovell led an expedition to discover new grazing country. They followed a route which passed close to Woomargama Station thus opening up new country for settlement.

In 1838, the 40,000 acre sheep run of Woomargama Station was taken up by Messrs MacKenzie and Wilde. From that point, the property passed through a number of hands before a smaller version of the property was bought by the Splatt family. The matriarch, Leah Splatt, was one of the first Australians to sell frozen mutton to Britain. They faced difficult times at the turn of the century with the Federation drought and the shearers’ strikes of the time.

In 1910, the Splatt family sold the 18,000 acre property to Captain Reginald Clarke along with the property’s 21,000 sheep and 500 cattle. Captain Clarke paid 80,000 pounds.
Captain Clarke made numerous improvements to the property including extending the woolshed and building the homestead. Unfortunately, Clarke died before he was able to live in the homestead.

In 1920, Sir George Fairbairn purchased the property. Sir George was involved in both public and political life. He served as President of the Melbourne Club, sat in the Victorian Legislative Assembly as well as the Federal house of Representatives and Senate. Sir Goerge’s vision remains today with the beautiful lake he developed below the homestead as well as the planting of European trees across the property.

In 1965, Gordon and Margaret Darling bought a 2,500 acre parcel of Woomargama Station from the Fairbairn family. They proceeded to renovate the homestead and worked with Professor Lindsay Prior on planting trees across the property. Later, Margaret Darling restored the woolshed.

The property has hosted famous guests over the years including the then Governor of California, Ronald Reagan (who later became President of the United States) and his wife, Nancy, in 1973. In 1983, HRH the Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales, along with the Duke of Cambridge, stayed at the property during their first Royal Visit to Australia.

In 2012, Gordon and Margaret’s daughter, Clare Cannon, and family took over the running of the now 6,500 acre property.