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Indigenous

Neds Corner has a rich Aboriginal history. Thus far, science has been able to document occupation of the area back more than 15,000 years.

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First Peoples on Country

The property features important cultural heritage sites including burial sites, scar trees that provided bark for canoes and shields, oven mounds where clay balls were used as heat beads, stone tool artefacts, and shell middens.

One shell midden at Neds is 400 metres long and 50 metres wide, full of fragments from mussels and snails harvested from the Murray River. Dr Jillian Garvey, a La Trobe University archaeologist, said: “People have come here over tens of thousands of years, or hundreds of years at least, and collected shells from the sandy silt that's down in the river and come back up onto the shore to eat it in different places”. 

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The first 100 years of European settlement: 1840s to 1940s

Neds was first settled for agriculture in 1849. Afterwards a leasehold was taken up by Edward Meale Bagot, a large landholder and investor from Adelaide. For about 25 years Bagot ran cattle, brumbies and sheep, taking advantage of the riverboats on the Murray River to transport wool to market.

Neds Corner was named after a shepherd called Ned who worked for Bagot. It’s believed Ned used a loop in the river to keep his flock safe, which then became known as ‘Neds Corner’. In the 1870s, Bagot sold the property and rabbits were arriving in the Mallee having swept north from the Port Phillip area. Robert Barr Smith and his partners were the next long-term leaseholders of the property and by 1911 the station was possibly six times its current size, stretching all the way to the South Australian border.

After World War l, some of the leaseholds were broken up for soldier settlements and settlers built the present homestead in 1922. The group of 18 men was granted freehold to parts of the Neds Corner lease in 1938, forming the Neds Corner Pastoral Company Pty Ltd.

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From the Kidman era to the Conservation era

Drought ravaged south-eastern Australia in the 1940s and by 1948, the property was sold to the Kidman Pastoral Company, becoming part of Sir Sidney Kidman’s agricultural empire which encompassed three per cent of Australia.

The Kidman Pastoral Company managed Neds for sheep grazing, with a flock of up to 25,000. Kidman started grazing cattle and in 1955, introduced irrigation to 121 hectares to grow pasture. Kidman also expanded the infrastructure by building the manager’s house and the shearers’ quarters.

During the Kidman era some leases that sat mainly to the west of the current station and extended to the South Australian border were not renewed by the government and were instead added to the Murray Sunset National Park in 1991. Kidman Pastoral Group sold Neds Corner shortly afterwards to a local operator before Trust for Nature purchased the property in 2002.