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History of Wallangra Angus

Jack & Joyce Cross - the way it was.....

After successfully drawing "Wallangra", Wandoan Queensland in a Government land ballot in 20 September 1956 Jack & Joyce started their long and interesting journey together.

With a map of the area, Jack & Joyce rode horses to pick a house/yard site at approximately the middle of the block. It proved to be about the middle of the property and a very good site. The block was heavily timbered with Brigalow, Belah, Bottle Tree & a little Iron Bark in one corner, was very undulating land and had no fences. Part of the conditions of drawing a ballot block was to develop the property to the Governments required value every year or you would risk loosing ownership.  The name of “Wallangra” was chosen from a name of a town in north western N.S.W where Joyce worked on a property in her young life.

Hard work was no obstacle to both of them. Roads, boundary & internal fencing, stock dams & turkey nests, sheep & cattle yards,  the clearing the property & planting improve pastures went on over the years as their income would allow and of course to build their home. This all seemed an impossible task but eventually it started to be operational.  

Neighbours were very good, everyone supported everyone in the good times and the bad. Jack and Joyce lived in the house on the neighbouring block, Burradoo until they could move into their lovely new timber home. This home has been well maintained over the years and with all credit to Joyce this house is still in good condition today.

Sheep was their main source of income back then - wool and fat lambs. This proved to be a very good decision as they made enough money to live on and do the required work each year and more. Horse and cart were used for their trips to town for supplies etc.  Years later the cart they owned was donated to the Miles museum where it is today.

Wallangra was in the tick area for the first nearly 40 years of being at Wallangra, which added to the work load and running cost. The tick boundary is well north and east of Wallangra now.

As the property improved they went from breeding Herefords to one day changing to Angus. Their decision came after they were handed a serviette in a restaurant during one of their travels. In the corner of the serviette was a picture of a head of an Angus bull (Joyce has carried this napkin in her purse for nearly 60 years) From this conversation that day, about the Angus breed they made the decision they would like to buy and start breeding Angus cattle together with their sheep. Over the following years they travelled around to purchase the right base herd, covering eastern Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania and bought the best Angus they could find & afford. Very slowly they built their numbers. They could see the benefit in breeding Angus and with the cattle they purchased it was not hard to start a stud which they did under the name of Wallangra Pastoral Co.  When asked about how they selected a good beast Joyce would reply “I pick a beast from the eye not from what is written in a catalogue”.  

Jack Cross was a well known and liked cattle & horse man. It was a terrible sad Christmas day 1980 when he was found deceased in his bed. It is nearly 40 years since his passing and he is still remembered for his knowledge and handling methods with cattle particularly remembered for the times he drove mobs of cattle to and from markets. He also bred good stock horses.

Jack & Joyce Cross, graziers for majority of their lives, were fortunate to draw Lot 4 on AB121,  631 Golden’s Road, Wandoan Queensland, in a Government ballot, on 20th September 1956.

Joyce was a hard worker and kept the property going and the stud alive with the help of workers.  On 3rd December 1983 she married Desmond Hodgkinson from Clermont in north Queensland who became her companion for the next 23years. In that time they completely went out of the sheep and concentrated on the Angus cattle. Joyce found herself alone again after Des passed away on 27th June 2007.

Joyce received a lifetime membership award of 50 years, from the Angus Society in 2011.

The success of the stud continued with the dedicated workers under the guidance of Joyce Hodgkinson.  Age does weary us, Joyce stayed as long as possible at Wallangra but it became impossible for her alone.  With less than 2 years in the special care of Leichhardt Villa in Taroom Joyce passed away on 16th June 2017 – at 90 years of age.

Unfortunately Joyce was not blessed with having her own children. She loved children and followed the steps in the lives of many children of family members and friends and loved to be part of any function involving children, she was a patron of a nearby country school until it closed. Her collection of photographs & newspaper articles in the many albums at Wallangra will be cherished and remain on the property. These show how much she was interested in the many people she had met over the years.

It is fitting to mention Joyce’s brother Athol Smith who was always at the end of the phone for her. Athol spent most of his working life on a cattle property “Whitefield Park” near Springsure central Queensland where he worked in the area as a shearer while his wife Doris stayed at home running their property alone through the week and bringing up their family of 5 girls namely Barbara, Kaye, Margaret, Julie-Anne & Maxine. Athol would travel to Wallangra 2 or 3 times per year for the shearing & crutching and other tasks ie fencing etc. as required.  Joyce was very saddened by Athol’s passing on 10th June 2016 – aged 91.

A note from Margaret  –“Having been to the Wallangra over the years with Dad and many other times alone or with my family I had the privilege of seeing the improvement of the property, memories of felling & feeding the cattle on Bottle tree in the dry times, even with an untrained eye seeing the advancement in the quality of the cattle and the enjoyment & satisfaction it gave Uncle Jack & Auntie Joyce. This holds fond memories for me.  With the marriage to Uncle Des, both Auntie Joyce & Uncle Des took an interest in owning & racing  Thoroughbreds.  One horse worth mentioning was “The Hand” which Auntie Joyce purchased and enjoyed watching him win in many races. A costly hobby she would say, but it gave them an interest.”

“It has been a great honour to be given the opportunity to run Wallangra and the lovely Angus Stud cattle seen there today. Together with my son Troy Whip and his partner Janette and their son Jack who have been on hand managing the property for the past 3 years, as well as the assistance and interest from my daughter Juanita and myself and husband John, we intend to continue the good work of the past. I visit Wallangra as much as possible and keep my finger on the pulse with the stud management.

 Wallangra bulls are offered at 15months up to 2years. The bulls we breed can handle the larger western Queensland properties as well as a quiet sire for the smaller herds closer in.

Presently we are working on breeding the bull that will throw low birth weight calves for first year heifers, (these calves still achieve a high growth rate in their first 2years of life). We should be offering a few of these bulls at the end of 2019.

Our goal is to continue to get the right bull for our repeat buyers and to encourage any new buyers to inspect and give them a go. All feedback is welcome.

We invite family, visitors & cattle buyers to visit and view this lovely property and the Wallangra commercial & stud Angus cattle that you see today or tomorrow.  

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