ONE of the Western District’s original squatter holdings is close to being sold to a Chinese company.
Negotiations for the sale of Blackwood at Penshurst, which was put on the market in September for sale through expressions of interest, are in the final stages.
Agents have declined to give any details or even confirm the sale due to confidentiality requirements, but The Standard has been able to confirm independently that the sale is being negotiated with a Chinese company.
It is also understood the same company is buying the Woolsthorpe property Minjah, but this has not been confirmed.
Blackwood was settled in 1842 when James Ritchie, who had arrived from Scotland a year earlier, took up the run in partnership with James Scales.
Mr Ritchie bought out his partner a few years later and the property has been in the family since.
It has recently been operated by Jason Ritchie and owned by Jason and his brother Dan, who lives in Sydney.
They are the fifth generation since settlement.
Jason said the property was put on the market because he wanted to pursue a career outside farming.
The property includes a grand 700-square-metre, six-bedroom bluestone homestead dating from 1892, a manager’s residence, guest cottage and historic coach house.
The size of the Blackwood holding has varied throughout its 172-year history but now encompasses 2400 hectares which is used for grazing and cropping.
Minjah was put on the market a couple of weeks after Blackwood, also for sale by expressions of interest.
The 2846-hectare mixed farming property north of Woolsthorpe was offered as one or two lots: a 1212-hectare section that includes the restored nine-bedroom 1870 homestead and improvements and a 1634-hectare parcel of grazing land.
The property was bought by Tim Clarke for his Minjah Pastoral Company in 2005.
Mr Clarke has not spoken to The Standard about the sale and agents have again declined to disclose details because of confidentiality requirements.