Manilla property Durham Court sells for $3.35 million to neighbouring Coombes family

Trevor Coombes, with son Richard in the foreground, reacts to the news of his family's winning bid. Photo: Peter Hardin 301116PHC098

Trevor Coombes, with son Richard in the foreground, reacts to the news of his family's winning bid. Photo: Peter Hardin 301116PHC098

A MANILLA property held by the same family since 1848 has been sold at auction for $3.35 million – to the next-door neighbours.

The Coombes family – Trevor, Beth, and son and daughter-in-law Richard and Emma – own the properties on either side of Durham Court, and were the winning bidders at the auction at Tamworth Community Centre on Wednesday.

Trevor Coombes said although the place had gone for more than he’d planned to bid, he was “a bit excited” to have secured it.

“We’ll just add to our own existing properties and expand our dairying operation,” he said.

The Coombes family run a dairying business on their 526 hectares (1300 acres) across their properties Glen Alpha, Rockleigh and Wirindi, milking 350 head and supplying Lion Nathan.

They have lived on their home property Glen Alpha/Rockleigh for 15 years and have owned Wirindi for four years.

Durham Court was owned by the late Otto Baldwin, whose family built the homestead in 1876.

The historic rural holding is 547 hectares (1352 acres) of on the banks of the Namoi River, has a six-bedroom homestead and has hosted shorthorn and thoroughbred studs.

Inverell real estate veteran Brian Baldwin, whose father and Otto Baldwin’s were cousins, travelled over to see the auction, as he said it was the last Baldwin holding in the Manilla area.

Auctioneer Patrick Purtle, from Purtle Plevey Agencies, said the sale result was “a bit above expectations”.

Watch the final minutes of the auction of Durham Court

“But that’s typical of the rural property industry at this point – a lot of people want to find an entry point – and we’re lucky enough to keep it in Manilla local farmers’ hands,” Mr Purtle said.

“They’re one of the best milk producers in the area and will be building their portfolio there.”

Mr Purtle said there had been “unprecedented inquiry” into Durham Court, including 30 inspections – seven taking place on one day.

“And that’s translated through to results; sometimes it doesn’t,” he said.

Mr Purtle said there were many reasons for the hot demand in rural holdings: strong commodity prices, a lack of quality properties for sale, low interest rates, and the perception of agriculture as a safe investment.

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