Eidsvold Station was founded in 1848 by Thomas Archer, a Scottish born Norwegian explorer, who is believed to be the first white man to set foot on the Burnett River.
'This is by far the best country we have seen, this will do very well. We agreed to call the new run "Eidsvold" after the village in Norway. The lower part of the country which fell to D.Archer & Co, we called "Coonambula."
Recollections of a Rambling Life, T.Archer & M. Wales
The next morning at dawn, every hand on the station; men, woman, children, stockmen, shepherds and shearers went to the scene and righted the wagon and piano and by evening it was installed and “lending a great air of culture and civilization to the drawing room.”
By 1857 the Archers had made further explorations and had formed the property Gracemere, just outside Rockhampton, so the Archers sold The Station to the Ivory brothers, Frank and Alec Ivory.
The original Archer homestead, built in 1852 still stands at the station. In 1854 Thomas Archer married Lindsay Morison of Perth and with his bride returned to live at Eidsvold.
A younger brother, writing home to their parents in Norway described the homestead
“The house is now as comfortable as circumstances will permit and quite snug enough for this climate and improvements are still being made. It will no doubt be one of the best bush houses in the neighbourhood before the winter is out.’
These two young Scotsmen were sons of the Lord Chief Justice of Scotland. Frank had studied to be a barrister, but due to ill-health it was decided that the Australian sunshine may be beneficial. They arrived complete with clubs for a round of golf.
The flat around the homestead was an ideal location and they mapped out a rough links, giving Eidsvold Station the distinction of being the first place in Queensland where golf was played.
A piano for the new bride was purchased and upon arrival at the port of Brisbane by sailing ship, the piano had to be loaded onto a bullock wagon and the long and hazardous trek to Eidsvold Station undertaken. The Burnett River had to be crossed and re-crossed nine times, without roads or cuttings, and on the ninth and final crossing, six miles below the Station homestead, the wagon with the precious piano capsized. The bullock-wagon driver could do nothing, and arrived at the Station distraught with his news.
In 1905 Eidsvold Station was sold to De Berg Persse and his son-in-law Fitzpierce Joyce. The well-recognized half circle J brand was registered by Fitzpierce de Normanville Joyce on 10/04/1905.
In 1936 Fitzpierce Joyce passed on and his eldest son Barney took over management of Eidsvold Station.
Eidsvold Station is famous for its Santa Gertrudis cattle, its Quarter Horses and hospitality. Royal visitors have included His Royal Highness Prince Charles (twice) and His Royal Highness Prince Richard of Gloucester.
Eidsvold - The Beef Capital of the Burnett
In 1926 a spark in the mind of Martin Snelling lit campfires for hundreds of miles along the stock routes leading to the Eidsvold saleyards. These campfires, lit at dusk and doused at dawn, marked a pattern – a pattern of moving stock – all trekking to Eidsvold, which was destined to become Queensland’s leading store stock selling centre.
The first yarding totalled only 500-600 head, but Martin Snelling’s discernment and enterprise in selecting Eidsvold as a key centre for store stock was soon appreciated by the stock owners, and the waves of stock movements mounted and mounted, until, on the 4th of June, 1932, they culminated in an Australian record yarding and sold 7482 head.
To accommodate these cattle, Martin Snelling built magnificent sale yards which covered nine acres and were of excellent design to simplify the drafting, sale and delivery of the stock.
In 1932 Mactaggarts Primary producers, Co-operative Association Ltd, decided to establish a branch at Eidsvold to conduct sales for their Burnett shareholders and customers.
(Source. Centenary of the Central & Upper Burnett River, 1845 - 1948)
“Eidsvold on a sale day is transformed. As the camp fires move closer and clouds of dust, lifted by the myriad hooves, merge over the yards, the little town is stirred from its sleep in the sun by the staccato cries of stockmen and the crack of stock-whips, and becomes a scene of great activity.
Cattlemen from far and wide are there to make inspection and purchases, or check on current values. Drovers, classers, stockmen, bronzed beneath a layer of dust, selling agents and auctioneers, are all part of the vivid scene which has made these yards the mecca of cattlemen and brought prosperity and life-blood to the town of Eidsvold.”
The Centenary of the Central and Upper Burnett River, 1848 - 1948
Eidsvold Station Santa Gertrudis
Barney Joyce attended the first Santa Gertrudis Sale in Australia of twelve imported purebred Santa Gertrudis bulls sold by King Ranch at Risdon, near Warwick, Queensland.
Having seen Santa Gertrudis cattle at the King Ranch in Texas, USA, Barney thought the cattle would suit the Eidsvold environment. Barney and Raoul Joyce, trading as Joyce & Joyce, were the volume buyers at the second sale held on 13th November 1953. Eidsvold Station was run by Barney, and Gyranda at Cracow was run by Raoul.
The brothers established Studs Numbers 2 and 3 respectively. In 1954 Barney visited Texas USA and purchased an additional 10 yearling purebred females from Armstrong Ranch. They arrived in Newstead, Brisbane in April 1955 and became the nucleus of the Eidsvold Station herd.
Eidsvold Station Sells Santa Gertrudis Bulls
On November 30, at Mactaggarts annual bull sale in Eidsvold, in the new specially built bull ring, Joyce & Joyce offered their 40 Santa Gertrudis first cross bulls for the first time.
The bulls were 12-14 months of age and sufficiently developed to work a light season.
Mr E. B. Joyce wrote
“These bulls are all from our choice quality Hereford cows which have four generations of Ennisview blood and stud breeding behind them. We are offering these Santa Gertrudis cross bred bulls with the assurance and recommendation of world class cattle breeding authorities…..These geneticists do stress the importance of both parent stock being of the highest quality, and we have taken special care in this regard in the selection of our purebred Santa Gertrudis bulls, for conformation, constitution and weight gain, and the genes contributed by the cows could do nothing but lift the standard of any herd.’”
Another generation and you will have a virtually pure-bred Santa Gertrudis which, Mr Joyce claims will give cattle:-
Adapted to your environment.
Heavy calves at weaning.
Stock with ability to fatten on grass and produce plenty of milk for their calves.
A combination of beefiness and hardiness.
Resistance to tick and insect pests, cutting dipping costs and solving the cancer eye problem.
Younger cattle ready for market and better profits.
Helping to form the Santa Gertrudis Breeders’ (Australia) Association in 1955, Barney Joyce served as a permanent councilor (1955-72), vice-president and deputy-president (1955-62), president (1964-66) and patron (1978-82); he was elected an honorary life member in 1973.
While president he established a publicity fund; produced a booklet, Santa Gertrudis in Australia; instituted a formal studbook; and extended membership to breeders from Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
A cattle judge at shows throughout Australia, he lectured on the Santa Gertrudis breed in Britain, the United States of America, the Pacific islands and Africa. He also promoted Eidsvold station, number two in the stud register, inviting such notables as Joyce Grenfell, Dame Annabelle Rankin, (Sir) Zelman Cowen and Prince Richard of Gloucester to open its well-publicized annual cattle sales. The Joyce’s twice entertained Prince Charles at Eidsvold Station and attended his wedding in 1981.
The Eidsvold Station Sales became synonymous with record-prices and the carnival atmosphere created by Barney.
“The music was piped all over the grounds as the 1000 prospective owners strolled under gay bunting, strung around in a carnival type setting.
The sale of 194 animals realized $114,000, the top price being $5,100 for a pure-bred bull. The top price paid for a pure bred cow was $2,400.”
Courier Mail, March 6, 1967
Research into the cattle live weight performance drove the focus and commercial relevance of the herd and the stud thrived with the demand for the cherry red cattle.
Anthony Coates, nephew of “Barney” Joyce commenced work at Eidsvold Station in 1962 and succeeded Barney on the Santa Gertrudis Council in 1972.
Sometimes dubbed the `squire of Eidsvold’, Barney was colourful in dress and manner. He sported a distinctive thin white moustache and frequently wore a calf-skin vest with a varied choice of hats. Often accompanied on tours by his wife, Joan, he was a consummate showman: charismatic, witty and charming, and equally at home with stockmen and royalty. He was neither a `shrinking violet’ nor a `quiet achiever’, believing it `better to be deplored than to be ignored’.
Barney died on 21 January 1983 and Anthony and Sally Coates continued the legacy. Anthony was SGBAA president from 1981 - 1984 and councillor until his retirement from council in 2010.
Anthony was a firm believer in functional efficiency and soundness in cattle and was active in founding the Breed Development sub-committee, which focused on production and breed characteristic.
In 1989 Stud Number 1, King Ranch Australia sold its Australian properties and held its final sale on 8th August 1989, making Eidsvold Station the oldest Santa Gertrudis stud in Australia.
Anthony and Sally Coates’ children created lives and careers away from Eidsvold Station, so with the Eidsvold Station legacy in jeopardy, Anthony and Sally Coates, and Rick and Alice Greenup began discussions on the future of the Eidsvold Station herd in August 2004.
This ambitious step was not taken lightly, and for two years Rick worked alongside Anthony to gauge the cattle, the operation and decide on the best way forward.
With no spare ute to take to Eidsvold, Rick regularly loaded up Alice’s ’69 VW Beetle with a saddle on the passenger seat and five border collies in the back to made the two hour drive north for a week of mustering and learn the run of the Station from Anthony, and the head stockmen, Ronnie and Victor Bligh.
Eidsvold Stations' breeding philosophy, objective herd recording through the use of Breedplan, and breeder management, complemented that of Greenup Santa Gertrudis, and it was a desirable union that would give strength to the genetics and achieve a volume of production that would provide a reliable supply of high grade bulls.
Greenup Eidsvold Station
In 2006, Rick and Alice procured the 1500-strong female stud herd and 300 commercial females of Eidsvold Station with a four-year, lease-to-buy arrangement.
Between 2012 and 2016 Greenup Pty Ltd purchased the land holdings that comprise the Eidsvold Station aggregate; Eidsvold Station – the headquarters; – Belvedere – the bull depot; Barrule & Boolgal – the breeding blocks.
The acquisition has resulted in the formation of one of Australia’s largest Classified Santa Gertrudis herds, underpinned by six decades of selection and the longest running objectively performance recorded herds.
Currently the Greenup Eidsvold Station herd has approximately 6,000 head of which around two thirds are registered stud cattle.
The land aggregation comprises 25,000 ha in Queensland’s Burnett Region that enjoys annual rainfall of 650 mm of predominantly summer rainfall. The cows are run on 21,000 ha of forest country. The AI heifers, bulls and steers are raised on 4,000 ha of fattening country, under improved pasture and 500 ha of forage crops. Centre pivot irrigation provides a seasonal buffer, and enables the company to grow bulls in large contemporary groups.
Greenup bulls weaned at Cardowan are trucked to Belvedere, where they are put on rye grass with the Eidsvold weaner bulls. The weaner bulls are run in large contemporary groups until 400 day weight, scrotal size and carcase scan data is recorded.
Over their second summer, the bulls are grown on a mixture of summer crops and improved pasture. In winter the sale team is moved onto oats and barley as their final preparation for the annual sale in September. The sale team is semen morphology tested and inspected by a certified cattle vet before cataloguing.
Rick’s breeding objectives for Greenup Eidsvold Station are focused on the commercial needs of the industry, breeding softness and fertility in the herd, in conjunction with muscle and weight for age, which targets market versatility. The productivity and market traits are heavily underpinned by selection for constitution which is achieved by putting the herd under environmental pressure.
A simple philosophy “to breed profitable cattle for self-replacing commercial herds, which perform in all environments and within all major markets” remain at the heart of the Greenup Eidsvold Station genetics.