History

Neil Statham was born in Western Australia and educated at Wesley College, Perth,  before moving to Newcastle in NSW.  He became an apprentice boiler maker with BHP and, later a sales representative with National Cash Register Company. Deciding to venture out on their own, he and his wife began pricing steel buildings to farmers then contracting their manufacture on receipt of orders. His brother later joined the board and they formed R & N Steel Buildings company that grew and prospered until becoming the premier manufacturer of prefabricated farm buildings in Australia. The largest single contract N M Statham handled personally was to supply 2000 sheds for Colonel Gaddafi in Libya within a period of two months.

 

N M Statham's move into the pastoral industry began in 1964 with the purchase of Sundown Valley, near Kingstown in Northern NSW. Within ten years, Sundown Valley was transformed into one of the top super fine wool producing properties in Australia.

Four neighbouring holdings were absorbed during the process and the combined properties soon carried a flock of 40,000 super fine wool merino sheep plus a herd of whiteface cattle. In 1983, a small Hereford stud was established.

 

With Sundown Valley fully productive, it came time to expand. In 1984 Sundown Pastoral Co purchased Keytah, a farming property west of Moree. The company later purchased adjoining Cudgildool, then in 1986 added Wathagar and Boorondarra stations.

The broad scale irrigated cotton farming operation is one of the largest private cotton farms in Australia. 

 

Committed to developing a cattle stud that would be the equal of any in Australia, the Sundown Valley stud was moved to Keytah. The Statham family then visited 25 of the top North American Hereford and Poll Hereford studs such as the Ponderosa ranch. From there they selected 150 cows and 10 sires, chosen from the top five percent of the herds.

 

What followed was the largest embryo-transfer program the world has seen, with 834 embryos implanted into Australian recipients over a 35 day period. By August 1987 there were 432 Canadian bred calves on the ground making it the largest North American Hereford herd outside America.

 

Four cattle herds were established with the introduction of Santa Gertrudis blood stock including King Ranch Jerico, Jimbour and several other sale topping bulls. Sundown Pastoral Co created history by acquiring a portion of the top end of the King Ranch female herd, a feat never before achieved by an Australian cattle company.

 

The rapid growth and development in which Neil Statham has produced along with his youngest son David for the past 30 years continues today.  David Statham is now at the helm of the company bringing along with him the future generation along with his wife Danielle and their 4 sons.