~Your Country~

Mt Hart’s Heritage 1967-Present

Written and posted on-line April 17th 2011


This is Your “Mt Hart Station”...


This is a place that has grabbed the minds, imagination and the hearts of people all across Australia since white man first set eyes upon it. It was always a place of beauty, significance and dreaming for the original inhabitants, our brothers the Aboriginal owners.


Since 1937 when the first novel was published on Mt Hart Station by Ion L Idriess titled “Over the Ranges” people all over this great nation have been captivated by the stories, the beauty and the treachery of this land and the people who live in it.


The Following news article was published about Mt Hart Station in Pix August 17th, 1968 Vol. 90 No.11 –




It tells the story of Managers/Owners Peter and Ann Murray, their children, their dedicated and skilled team of stock men and woman who all battled away in this county’s isolation, running Mt Hart as a million acre cattle station…The key theme of this news article was; “This is YOUR country - It’s the Life…It’s the Living…” I will let the pictures and the articles tell their own story...


















Horse Plant Mt Hart Station 1966-67 (pictured below)




Thiess Brother’s Plane Mt Hart Airstrip 1966 (pictured below) Pictured left to right: Pilot – John Bartam, Manager Jack Webber, Theiss QLD Advisor Norman Emsley, Manager’s wife – Bev Webber




Ann and Peter Murray managed Mt Hart For Theiss Brothers from 1967 – 1977. They raised their children here, educated them here through school of the air. And they have always had a strong attachment to Mt Hart. Years Later after Theiss had sold the property Peter and Ann Murray, purchased Mt Hart as part of their cattle dynasty. Unfortunately, after the 1987 stock market collapse a couple of their partners withdrew from the deal…Leaving Peter Murray carrying the baby. The dealership Peter had gained his finances from foreclosed on him as he could not find additional investors.


At the time they had a sale price of $1.2 million valued on the Mt Hart station lease.


After 3 years of receivership Mt Hart Station was then declared by the pastoral board as an “unviable cattle station”.


Hence The Department of Environment and Conservation of Western Australia (DEC) or as they were called back then...The Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM) of Western Australia purchased the ENTIRE million acre Mt Hart property including the heritage homesteads for $350,000.


A few years later this property was declared “The King Leopold Range Conservation Park”.




As part of this deal Peter and Ann Murray lost everything. It took them many years to recover from the loss of their investment and the underhanded deals that took place. During this bargain sale and purchase of the Mt Hart station lease, deals occurred between two State Government Departments and the company concerned that was holding Mt Hart in receivership. So much of what took place as part of this underhanded deal is so dark, and sorrowful, I do not have the heart to publish it on this website, for some things buried away in the darkest recesses of closets should stay that way.




Ann and Peter Murray have since made a comeback and survived against all odds to the point where they have strategically risen above that experience which was a living nightmare for them like few of us could ever imagine or comprehend. The fact that this couple stuck together despite everything they were forced to endure is a testimony to them and their family. Peter and Ann Murray still like to come back to Mt Hart every year to see what’s happening. To them, even though they went through so much hardship, Mt Hart still holds fond memories. They came out here at the end of last year and I filled them in with all that is going on regarding what DEC are doing to me.


To Peter and Ann Murray hearing my story was de-javu in its purest sense.


After Ann and Peter Murray lost Mt Hart, this Kimberley Station entered a new era...


Owed to the fact that Mt Hart was now classified as an unviable cattle station, the only real option left was for the country to embrace an era and age of tourism...


Once CALM (now DEC) purchased the station lease there was an urgent need to promote and develop tourism to the area. An area that really had been the realm of stockmen and wanderers and entrepreneurs’ was now to be opened to all. The media were right behind us in this and they spread the message far and wide…Their stories captured the minds and hearts of people all over the State of Western Australia, and the nation. In the papers, and on the TV, people who had never been here, heard the message and the story of this great wilderness country which had now become the property of the citizens of Western Australia.


Folks learned about the new manager’s who had taken on the daunting yet wildly challenging responsibility of restoring, maintaining and preserving Mt Hart homesteads for the people in the newspapers, on the radio and on the TV…






Front Page of the West Australian, 1999 (pictured below)












Mt Hart Airstrip 1999 Postcard images - pictured below…




Mt Hart Homesteads postcard 1999 pictured below…




…And so, since 1967 through these photos, news articles, and documents, this “Quick trip" down Mt Hart memory lane gives us all a window into history.


A proud history of struggle, success and collapse, how this iconic place Mt Hart, has changed...


Yet also how the legacy, the culture , the history and the proud heritage of this country lives on and evolves...


People all across this great nation continue to hear the story, which in time will become the history of Mt Hart as it progresses via the media, and via this website and always if in no other way, vicariously through the essence that is Mt Hart and the Kimberley.




Now with modern communication systems – the message and the story that is conveyed here helps ensure that which has captured the minds of adventurous souls since 1937…continues. And so shall that story grow as those of us who were privileged to experience life in this mecca of Kimberley wilderness, keep alive this area of a great Nation’s invaluable history…


This is Your inheritance. This is Your country. This is the life. This is the living…