Fossil Downs was settled as a pastoral enterprise in 1886 by the MacDonald brothers, Charlie & Willie. The 2 brothers, along with others set out from Goulburn NSW in March 1883 with 700 head of cattle, 60 horses and an intention to drove the cattle across the continent, where they would establish a new beginning for their families.
They experienced incredible hardship and harsh conditions along the way, they lost cattle & horses and came very close to death themselves. After much perseverance their epic journey totalling 5,600km finally came to an end when they arrived at their destination on 3 June 1886 with only 300 head of cattle and 13 horses remaining. Their new home was named Fossil Downs. The great MacDonald brothers drove is still recognised as Australia’s longest droving trip and an incredible tale that will forever be etched in our country’s pastoral history. Over the years Fossil Downs flourished under the MacDonald family management initially running shorthorn cattle until later moving over to the droughtmaster breed. The station remained in the family for 129 years until selling in 2015 to Hancock Agriculture.
Fossil Downs has continued to thrive under Hancock’s ownership and management. The company has invested extensive capital to improve genetics and temperament throughout the droughtmaster herd, improve infrastructure across the property and implement leading edge technology to assist with property management.
Hancock has, and continues to, implement worthy initiatives to improve the welfare of all animals living on the station. From the 20,000 head of cattle, the hard working stock horses, the egg laying chickens right down to the old retired station dog that keeps the homestead veranda occupied! Hancock have made a solid commitment to making sure every animal has a stress free, healthy and abundant experience whilst living on Fossil Downs.
The welfare of our employees also rates high on our priority list and some great initiatives have been rolled out to improve safety on all levels. At Fossil Downs we are supported by our company to ensure that all staff can head out to work for the day, carry out their duties and return home safely at the end of each and every day. The cook is a central feature for breakfasts and dinners, where we share around the table our experiences, plans, sorrows and happiness, and more, and become a family. Employees also have the opportunity to participate in many upskilling courses held on the property to increase their knowledge within the workplace and foster their own personal growth.
Fossil Downs now runs 20,000 head of quality droughtmaster cattle and employs roughly 17 staff throughout the dry season. We carry out mustering using our own helicopters, vehicles and horses. We source staff who are forward thinking, passionate about agriculture and looking for a career in the industry. The station homestead is surrounded by lush gardens and has all the necessary facilities and communications that help make the station a home for all of our staff.
Fossil downs is a place we love and are proud to call home. We are proud to be part of Hancock agriculture and the Hancock group, chaired by Mrs Rinehart, who takes a keen interest in Fossil, and all of Hancock agriculture.