Gnaraloo Station is one of the few remaining Merino sheep properties still in the Gascoyne. It measures 56 km by 18 km which is approximately 1, 000 sq km or 220,000 acres. You can fit 35,653 Melbourne Cricket Grounds or 122,792 Wembley Stadiums within the Gnaraloo boundaries.
When sold by the Michaels in 1988, it is recorded that Gnaraloo was stocked with 14,000 sheep and the wool clip in 1988 was 340 bales.
The Japanese company, Hakko Sunday, who purchased Gnaraloo only had plans to build and manage a tourist resort so stock numbers were steadily reduced to approx 3,000 head. This had great environmental benefit for Gnaraloo as the lack of grazing on virtually all of the property has allowed the area to return to native vegetation.
As the current management made the decision to run Gnaraloo as a Wilderness Tourism destination, they decided to hold the stock number at a much lower level than is permitted on Gnaraloo. In the first year’s draft, stock numbers were whittled down to 2,000 as all saleable sheep were sent to market.
The wool clip in that first year was 52 bales and currently averages around 24 bales. Gnaraloo’s wool is 21.5 micron but, due to the very sandy conditions and scrub of the area, it has a low yield of 45%.
When Gnaraloo was purchased by the current management in 2005, the infrastructure was in very poor condition. The trap yards were barely able to hold sheep. Since then, seven new yards and three new water points have been installed to aid with the management of goats on the property, Prior to 2007, no goats were removed from the property.
The first load of goats to be removed was in 2007 and consisted of a B Double truck filled with 674 of the largest Billy goats. This truck load dressed out to 24,562 kg of meat. More than 3,000 goats have been removed from Gnaraloo and each year numbers are continually reduced in order to protect native vegetation.