beef production & deluxe cabin accommodation
in the heart of Central Queensland's stunning Dawson Valley
Our story spans generations. It's one shaped by pioneering forebears, severe droughts, flooding rains, a gold rush, wars, countless bush characters and above all a determined passion for our land and the animals that graze it.
One family, five generations at Cracow Station
The forced sale caught the eye of GK Jeffrey who had travelled to Queensland looking for country to add to the family's existing grazing holdings in northern NSW. GK purchased Cracow Station in 1903 and once the drought broke, he began walking 1000 Hereford heifers from the family's property Mingoola near Tenterfield to restock the property. There began the Jeffrey family's long history with Cracow Station which continues today through GK's great-granddaughter Sarah Cox (nee Jeffrey), her husband Richard and their children Edward and Johanna. These days, Cracow Station is a 10,374 hectare property dedicated to producing high quality grass-fed beef.
Since moving to Cracow in 2004, Richard and Sarah have endeavoured to implement management principles that foster the long-term health of their business, their animals, the landscape. This requires an on-going focus on rotational grazing, pasture management, soil rehydration, fencing and stock water improvements, targeted nutritional supplementation of cattle, low stress stock handling and livestock/weaner education. Their passion and enthusiasm is shared by Edward and Johanna who are actively involved in the day-to-day operation of the property when they’re home on holidays from boarding school. Maybe the family ties to Cracow will continue for a few more generations yet.
(Photos feature Sarah's grandfather Stewart Jeffrey, his brother Garth Jeffrey & Tom Rigby who managed Cracow Station for the Jeffrey family from 1923 to 1953.)
The Cracow Station story
Cracow Station is one of the oldest properties in the Dawson Callide region, having been settled in 1851 by John Mackenzie-Ross. He named Cracow after the Polish city of Krakow which he admired for its crucial role in Polish independence movements. Over the ensuing 50 years, Cracow became an established sheep and cattle run. The seasons and market conditions weren't always kind however, and it changed hands several times during that period. By far the greatest devastation occurred in 1902 at the crux of the infamous Federation drought when all except 36 of the station's 5000-odd head of cattle perished leaving the owner financially bereft and the station for sale once again.
The Cracow region's golden history
The first person to find gold in the Cracow region was one of GK Jeffrey’s aboriginal stockmen, Johnny Nips, in 1913. Lore has it that he was sent to find a missing horse along Boughyard creek and picked up a little nugget in thick inaccessible scrub. Although he supposedly told no-one, word eventually spread and some prospecting was done by Charlie Lambert from Taroom. However a lack of water made the job very difficult. With some government assistance, he tried again with another Taroom local Billy Ryan in 1931 and the pair had immediate success. Eventually the Golden Plateau Reef was found and the region's gold rush began. It was the Great Depression and thousands of men, down on their luck, flocked to the region to try and strike it rich. A township which took it's name from the nearby Cracow Station was soon established. In its early days, Cracow township was a thriving settlement – by 1932 the population reached 4000 and in it’s heyday around 1937 it had 10 cafes, 2 cordial factories, 3 picture theatres, 6 drapery shops and 23 sly grog shops including one hidden in a bottle tree!
From 1934 to 1976 the Golden Plateau Mine produced 18,528kg of gold and 20,901kg of silver but closed in 1976 due to falling reserves. Many of the buildings were auctioned off and transported and reassembled on surrounding stations and nearby towns. Even the 800-book town library went under the hammer.
The mine was reopened in 1984 by Cracow Gold to recover gold and silver from tailings accumulated from the 1930s. These days Cracow Gold Mine is operated by Aeris Resources.
Photos courtesy of the National Library of Australia &
State Library of Queensland.
The township of Cracow is also beginning to make its mark on the big screen, with its scenic backdrops and characteristic old buildings having captured the attention of local and international film producers. In 2018, the award-winning comedy/horror film Two Heads Creek starring Kathryn Wilder, Jordan Waller, Helen Dallimore, Gary Sweet, Kevin Harrington, Kerry Armstrong and Don Bridges was filmed at Cracow and has since been screened in cinemas around Australia, the United States, Canada and United Kingdom.
Cracow Station deluxe cabin accommodation
Self-contained deluxe cabin in private and tranquil surrounds
Relax and dine around the outdoor fire pit
Close to picturesque walking/running trails