David Pollock and his partner Frances Jones could be described as an unconventional couple. Living on their station, Wooleen, eight hours drive north-east of Perth, they are in the midst of the sprawling Murchison region of Western Australia, where stations the size of some European countries have run sheep and cattle for more than a century. But in 2007, David Pollock did something “really silly”. He destocked his entire half a million acres.




It was his first year as Wooleen’s owner after taking over from his father, Brett, who despite more than 18 years steering it through boom and bust, lost his heart for station life after the death of his beloved wife, Helen.




The family had cleverly diversified into tourism in 1993 to cushion themselves against plummeting wool prices, converting the sprawling homestead into a station stay and earning a good reputation for showing visitors — particularly international tourists — an authentic Australian outback station experience. Yet they could never have foreseen 20 years on, tourism would take over as Wooleen’s main breadwinner being part of their youngest son’s courageous plan for healing the rangelands, which have been decimated by a century of overgrazing.




Now 27, David grew up on Wooleen. He has travelled  extensively, but the station has always been his home and his passion. He explains that destocking was radical, but vital for two reasons. “There are two aspects to the problem and they are recovering the landscape to something that is worth sustaining and then implementing grazing techniques to make sure it doesn’t revert,” he says. “We are really trying to figure out what the country should look like and what it is we should be trying to sustain. Before this project, people would be visiting Wooleen and I’d push this idea of sustainability onto them whether they liked it or not, but now people are coming here for the sustainability story.”



Wooleen is an anomaly as an outback station stay without cattle or sheep, but David is spot on when he says it’s attracting a new breed of tourist, intrigued and in admiration of a committed couple’s brave move and sustainability project. Among them, David says, are people who visited when Wooleen was stocked and are intrigued to see how the landscape has changed. The station’s unique story of regeneration was first given national exposure when the ABC’s TV show Australian Story ran two programs on it, the first in March 2012.


The complete story was originally published in Australian Country issue 16.2. Click here to subscribe to our magazine.

Click here for more farm life stories.

Words and photography Kerry Faulkner

More Like This

Douglas Blain

The Extraordinary Journey of Douglas Blain: Preserving the Past with Passion

Douglas Blain’s remarkable life has been devoted to rescuing old buildings and turning them into boutique hotels.

Montville Mist Springwater

The Collins’ Montville Mist Springwater Success

Alli and Peter Collins juggle raising a family and running, Montville Mist Springwater from their home in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

Paper Pocket Australiana

Our Top 10 Favourite Calendars and Diaries to Kick Start Your 2024

Discover Australia’s favourite range of 2024 Calendars and Diaries from Paper Pocket. Keep track of your year, organise your appointments, plan your […]

Date & Ginger Bundt Cake

Date & Ginger Bundt Cake Recipe

This date and ginger bundt cake is an adaptation of my mum’s much-loved sticky date pudding recipe.

Lemon Cake Recipe

Weekday Lemon Cake Recipe

A (very) simple melt-and-mix number, perfect for when a lemon cake is in order, but fuss is not. A while ago, […]

Move to Myanbah

From Corporate Careers to Country Living: A Family’s Move to Myanbah

Jess and Hamish Webb embarked on a move to Myanbah to raise their three young children in a restored 19th-century homestead.

Tweed Valley Tourism

Tweed Valley Tourism Guide

A picturesque setting and smorgasbord of local food and drinks makes new south wales’ tweed valley tourism spot a treat for the senses.

Tasmanian Family Farm

A Tasmanian Family Farm Built within Generations

Seven generations of the Medwin family have farmed at Black River, Tasmania. Phil and Fiona Medwin are ensuring the tradition continues.

Follow Us on Instagram