Kelburn Grove grows olives, primarily for the Australian Olive Oil market. They have been in operation for the past five years and it is family owned and operated by Merv and Shirley Braithwaite and Steve and Debbie King. The property is located at the foothills of the Warrumbungle Mountains on the Newell Highway.
Kelburn Grove has three varieties of olives and they are harvested, by hand, once a year for a period of 2 months.They supply their olives to Viva Olives, who collects the ½ tonne crates of olives from the mail box of Kelburn Grove. The olives must be picked, driven to Queensland and crushed for oil within a 48 hour time frame. The location of the property on the Newell Highway makes this possible.
Kelburn Grove has enjoyed much success in their short period of operation. They have received a bronze medal at the Australasian Championships in their category and they are getting excellent oil content out of the olives. The small, but very effective, team followed the advice of the experts when establishing the grove and it is now paying off.
Currently 6 family members pick 9-10 tonnes of olives from daylight to dark for 6 – 8 weeks of the year. They are now investigating the latest innovations in automatic harvesting equipment to make their businesses even more efficient.
The location at the foothills of the Warrumbungles is ideal for olives (and grapes), which has helped Kelburn Grove, and the location on the Newell Highway enables them to meet the transport demands of the industry.
Gilgandra Poultry is an independent grower and producer of chickens. They supply chickens to restaurants, supermarkets and butchers throughout the Central West region. This includes Bourke to Mudgee and Lightning Ridge to Cobar. One third of the production is directed into the Gilgandra market.
Gilgandra is an ideal location for the operation as freight is crucial. The chickens need to be moved from the factory to the shop front in less than 24 hours to maximum shelf life. This gives Gilgandra Poultry a competitive advantage over Sydney producers. Being located in the centre of the grain belt also provides a reduction in input costs, in relation to freighting feed to the area.
Gilgandra Poultry process 2400 chickens a week and have 100% sell out each week, they cannot meet market demands. They employ 13 people, 9 of which are part time. The staff comes from Gilgandra, Dubbo and Gulargambone. Gilgandra Poultry has been operating for 17 years and is family owned and operated.
McReaddie's Nursery is a wholesale nursery that grows for the large wholesale nurseries in Sydney. The trees are grown to a semi-advanced stage in Gilgandra and than transported to Sydney and sold as mature plants. McReaddie's are also specialists in the collection of Eucalyptus seed, genetic and provenance collections are made. A significant number of plants are supplied to mining companies to re-vegetate mining sites.
McReaddie's Nursery exported their seeds and trees around the world until 4 years ago when the State Forests they used for seed collection where closed by the Government. This unfortunately prevented them from exporting.
Gilgandra provides a central location for McReaddie's Nursery. Seed collection takes them all over the East Coast, and Gilgandra provides an ideal base. The climate also enables them to dry seed and the local loam soils means their plants are of a very high standard.
McReaddie's Nursery has been operating in Gilgandra since the 1950's and is a family owned and operated business.
The Tooraweenah Prime Lamb Marketing Cooperative administers the sale of the member’s lamb. They do this by liaising with members and processors for forward contracting. They arrange assessing of the lambs, transportation and all administration associated with the sale.
The Tooraweenah Prime Lamb Marketing Co-op is located in Bridge Street Gilgandra and consists of 70 members. Members are located between Coonabarabran, Condobolin, Dubbo and Nyngan, covering a significant area of the Central West.
The Tooraweenah Prime Lamb Marketing Co-operative began 7 years ago, in Tooraweenah. The concept began by a core of stud ram breeders and buyers wanting a more secure system. For the first three years a farmer operated the cooperative from his home. Due to its success a Business Manager was employed for three years. The Cooperative is now back in the hands of one of the original members. Due to the very reasonable purchase and operating costs in Gilgandra the group has been able to establish a shop front the centre of town. Gilgandra provides an ideal location, as it is central to the members.
'Yallaroo' Gilgandra grows eucalypt flowers, buds and foliage for the Sydney wholesale flower markets and sells directly to florists and the public. Tourism, flower arrangements and craft are also integral aspects of the business.
The plantation began ten years ago and is an environmentally friendly plantation of over 4000 Australian native plants occupying 17 hectares of the property. The products are naturally grown with the trees planted in wide rows with no need for pesticides, fungicides and irrigation.
Harvesting occurs weekly, the product is pulsed overnight and packed dry in large boxes and transported by road directly to Sydney markets.
The business began with minimal capital input and a huge amount of family labour. It has been very challenging but with a positive outlook and an enviable lifestyle this unique idea is proving a success. The local community and surrounding districts have been very supportive of the venture and having a Council with a progressive attitude has also been a great benefit.
Gilgandra was chosen for this enterprise for a number of reasons, including relatively low land values and cost of living, a climate which is suitable for the production of dry climate inland native flowers, central location with easy access to all Eastern and Southern states and very good educational facilities and opportunities in the town and nearby regional centres.
Gilgandra Observatory was opened in 1975 as a tourist attraction. It was the first observatory in the region with a telescope that you could actually look through. It was built to compliment the professional telescopes in the region.
Gilgandra's location at the junction of three highways is an integral aspect of the Observatory's success. As Gilgandra is also the mid point between Melbourne and Brisbane a lot of the visitation is overnights stays in the town. Due to word of mouth among Newell Highway travellers many people that visit the Observatory intended to do so before they arrived in town. Again, being located in Gilgandra and the Newell Highway benefits the Observatory.
Another advantage of being located within the region is the comprehensive range of Observatory's. The Observatory appeals to all as it incorporates other attractions such as fossils, rocks, wildflowers, local stones, gems, astronomical pictures, holograms and old machinery.
Ken and Elizabeth Barden, of ‘Havilah’ Gilgandra began an aquaculture enterprise nine years ago breeding silver perch. The property is located north of Gilgandra, near the Warrumbungle National Park. They started off with 1200 fish in two ponds and now have nine ponds that hold 50, 000. Up to 20 tonnes of the silver perch is sent to fish farms along the coast or the Sydney fish market each year.
It was the 1992 drought that motivated Mr Barden to set up the silver perch farm. Due to the depleting fish stocks in the sea, fish farming was considered the most viable option at the time to provide an alternative income to traditional farming. There is a growing market for silver perch, which is predicted to continue growing into the future. Silver Perch is a firm fleshed fish with fine textured flesh, which represents itself well for barbecues, baking and pan frying. It is an extremely healthy fish, which has really helped in the marketing of the fish.
The fish farm relies on ground water catchments for the ponds and bore water to back it up during times of drought. The quality of water is critical to the operation and is monitored and managed constantly.
Gilgandra Shire provides an ideal location for the Silver Perch fish farm as the highways provide excellent access to the coastal markets and the Warrumbungle Mountains provides a clean, fresh environment for aquaculture.