Deposit N65 - Australian Agricultural Company (Australian Office) deposit 6

Identity area

Reference code



Australian Agricultural Company (Australian Office) deposit 6


  • 1824 - 1975 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

9.2 m

Context area

Name of creator

(1824 -)

Administrative history

The Australian Agricultural Company (AACo or The Company) was formed in London in April 1824. Its purpose was to raise fine woolled sheep and sell wool on the London market. The formation of the Company was supported by an Act of Parliament and a Royal Charter. Its directors and major shareholders included directors of the Bank of England, the East India Company and Members of Parliament; with assigned convicts given the roles of shepherding and general labour. The Company’s initial land grant was one million acres in New South Wales plus two thousand acres in Newcastle. After some uncertainty the land, in the colony, was in three blocks: 464,640 acres between Port Stephens and the Manning River (Port Stephens Estate), 249,600 acres on the Liverpool Plains west of Willow Tree (Warrah) and 313,298 acres at the Peel River south of Tamworth (Goonoo Goonoo). The AACo operated in four major NSW locations during the nineteenth century – Port Stephens, Tamworth, Quirindi, and Newcastle – and from the last quarter of the century also in Queensland and eventually in Northern Australia. Its interests expanded to include wool, wheat, cattle, coal and land sales.

Within a year of its formation the AACo also became involved in coal mining at Newcastle, taking over the government’s operations there. After protracted negotiations the Company’s first pit was opened in 1831.The discovery of gold in New South Wales on the Company’s Peel Estate led to the formation of the Peel River Land and Mineral Company in 1854. Between 1825 and 1862 the AACo, with the Peel River Land and Mineral Company, brought from Europe to New South Wales over 700 men to work either at the colliery in Newcastle or on the extensive pastoral estates at Port Stephens, Tamworth and the Liverpool Plains. The new arrivals were managers, skilled mechanics, shepherds, miners and labourers. The first group of employees was managed by the Company’s first Agent, Robert Dawson (Agent, 1824-1828). Dawson’s successors included Sir Edward Parry (Commissioner, 1830-1834); Henry Dumaresq (Commissioner, 1834-1838); Phillip Parker King (Commissioner, 1839-1849); followed by several General Superintendents with Jesse Gregson, the Company’s longest serving General Superintendent from 1875-1905.

In 1864 the AACo began the development of the Warrah Estate for sheep breeding, investing extensively in wells, bores and fencing. The AACo purchased Corona (near Longreach) in 1912; Bladensburg (near Winton) and Highfields (between Corona and Bladensburg) in 1915; Headingly (Urandangie) in 1916; before moving into the Northern Territory with the purchased of Avon Downs (Barkly Tablelands) in 1921. From the 1930s gradually phasing out sheep the AACo became increasingly involved in beef cattle, developing the Santa Gertrudis stud at Goonoo Goonoo and purchasing Rockhampton Downs (Barkley Tablelands NT) in 1948, Wrotham Park (near Chillagoe, Q) in 1963, Brunette Downs (north of Tennant Creek) in 1979.

In 1975 the London-based directors resigned and the Company’s tax domicile was transferred from London to Tamworth, NSW and then to Brisbane in 1985 following the sale of Goonoo Goonoo. From 1976 the Company’s name was listed on the Australian Stock Exchange as the Australian Agricultural Company Limited. In 1995 Elders Ltd acquired the AACo and it was delisted from the Australian Stock Exchange. The Company became a wholly owned subsidiary of Futuris Corporation Limited after Futuris took over Elders in 1997. The Company was re-listed in 2001.

Name of creator

(1948 –)

Administrative history

The company was jointly formed in the United Kingdom in December 1948 by the Australian Agricultural Company (AACo) and the Peel River Land & Mineral Company Ltd. It took over all the issued capital of James McLeish Pty Ltd and properties at Coonamble, New South Wales: Sandycamp, Pillicawarrina and Narraway (1946-1953). The company subsequently purchased the Northern Territory Pastoral Co Pty Ltd (1948- ), Cooper River Pastoral Co Pty Ltd and South Galway property (1948- ), and Ivanhoe Grazing Co Ltd (1950-1960). After the control of the AACo was transferred to Australia in 1975, AA&P Joint Holdings Ltd became a wholly owned subsidiary of the AACo and was registered as an Australian proprietary company in 1976.

Name of creator

(1937 - 1996)

Administrative history

The company was registered in Queensland on 20 April 1937 and was the proprietor of South Galway Station in Windorah, Queensland. Its original shareholders included Gilbert Schmidt, Rudolf Schmidt, Henry Schmidt and William Henry Young. Gibert Schmidt and William Henry Young also held interests in Rockhampton Downs Pastoral Company Pty Ltd and the Northern Territory Pastoral Company Pty Ltd which were proprietors of Rockhampton Downs Station. South Galway Station was acquired by the Australian Agricultural Company through AA&P Joint Holdings Ltd in 1948. The Cooper River Pastoral Company Pty Ltd was deregistered on 13 December 1996.

Name of creator

(1916 -)

Administrative history

The company was registered in New South Wales on 6 July 1916 as James McLeish Estates Limited until 18 May 1937 when it became a proprietary company. It was acquired in July 1946 as a subsidiary of AA&P Joint Holdings Ltd, a company jointly formed by the Australian Agricultural Company and the Peel River Land & Mineral Co Ltd.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Company and station records including despatches and correspondence, station reports and stock returns, financial records, historical statistics and references collected by Jesse Gregson for his history of the company, Goonoo Goonoo office diaries, staff files and correspondence relating to salaries, annual reports, income tax working papers, property valuations, auditors' reports, memoranda and articles of association of subsidiary companies: Cooper River Company, Union Pastoral Investment Ltd, AA & P Holdings Ltd, Dark's Ice & Cold Storage Ltd; and maps.


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Researchers must sign an access agreement

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Item list

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Notes area


The records of the Australian Agricultural Company are inscribed on the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World Register.

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used

Dates of creation revision deletion

Entered from deposit description on 26 March 2012




Accession area