In 1877 when Queenslanders William Collins, William Forrest, and Sir Thomas McIlwraith were joined by Englishmen John Warner and Sir William Ingram to form The North Australian Pastoral Company (NAPCo), little did they know they were laying the foundation for more than 140 years of sustainable beef farming.
Our five founders were the original lessees of the great Alexandria Downs Station in the Northern Territory – now known simply as ‘Alexandria’, it continues its flagship role within NAPCo’s operation.
The new company survived the financial and drought-induced crises of the 1890s mainly due to its Burdekin properties which were less drought-affected and close to abattoirs.
The first two decades of the 20th Century saw more drought, a world war and changes in the ownership structure.
In 1937, Francis Foster invested heavily in NAPCo taking an interest which grew through his lifetime bringing with it exceptional pastoral skills and a long-term vision which laid the basis its composite breeding program and pioneering contributions to land care, conservation and disease minimisation.
NAPCo ’s longevity and operational success has been partly due to its integration of multiple properties into a resilient chain for breeding, fattening and drought-proofing, complemented by the Wainui feedlot on the Darling Downs. Alexandria which provides stock to other properties in the channel country, central Queensland and the Darling Downs remains the core of the operation.
NAPCo has experienced sustained growth since the 1980s. A defining characteristic of the company’s success has been a family approach to the business under a succession of inspirational leaders including Foster family members, Douglas Fraser, Michael Crouch and more recently Christopher Lyndon and Nigel Alexander.
In May 2016, the Queensland government acquired an 79% interest in NAPCo with the Foster family owning the remaining share ensuring that local control of this important national business continues.
Today, NAPCo has moved from being a cattle-only company to become one of Australia’s biggest producers of prime-quality branded beef.
The survival and development of NAPCo over more than 140 years is a tribute to the people involved; in particular the character, ability, foresight and extraordinary dedication of those who have contributed both on and off the properties.
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