Keyline Project Sites

Keyline Project Sites

Keyline Project Sites

The late, great P.A. Yeomans and particularly his son’s Allan & Ken (the late Neville Thomas Yeomans was in his working life a prominent psychiatrist) have provided a significant influence to producers around the world through their development of the Keyline farming system.

We’ve been fortunate to have grown up with Keyline and have applied its principles and techniques to almost every property we’ve worked on.

Following is a list of Keyline project sites (and their Long/Lat & UTM coordinates)  of note that the Yeomans family, Regrarians and a few others have developed since the early 1950’s. This is by no means all of the properties that are out there that have applied Keyline principles, however it does give a good indication of the breadth of systems that use this great and enduring system of farm development & management. As we find more properties (feel free to submit some!) that have successfully applied Keyline principles we will add them to this list…

Nevallan, North Richmond, NSW, AU – 285776.34 m E 6283399.72 m | S  33°34’3.38″S 150°41’31.64″E | -33.567606° 150.692122°

The original Keyline property designed and developed by P.A. Yeomans and his son’s Neville (dec.) and Allan. Sold by the Yeomans family in the 1960’s to pay for death duties following the unfortunate death of Mrs. Rita Yeomans in 1964. Nevallan evidently remains in the same hands the Yeomans family sold to in the 1960’s and appears to function very well as designed. Nevallan featured in the 1955 ‘Rural Bank of NSW’ documentary, ‘Keyline’

Yobarnie, North Richmond, NSW, AU – 285787.44 m E 6281921.89 m S |  33°34’51.34″S 150°41’30.79″E | -33.580928° 150.691886°

The second Keyline property again designed and developed by P.A. Yeomans and his son’s Neville (dec.) and Allan. Also sold by the Yeomans family in the 1960’s to pay for death duties following the unfortunate death of Mrs. Yeomans. Considered an experimental project by the Yeomans family, Yobarnie was sold to Peel family in the mid-1960’s and then sold in 2007 for a reported $40 million dollars to a developer. The developers have since been controversially mired in political scandals surrounding the development approvals process. 

Kencarley, Orange, NSW, AU – 702469.68 m E 6321130.38 m S | 33°13’47.36″S 149°10’22.21″E | -33.229822° 149.172836°

This was another property that P.A. Yeomans bought and developed however I’m not sure of when it was bought, developed and ultimately sold. It too was very experimental though from visiting it most of the dams are still functioning very well. Two of the large dams to the west of the property are not working, I suspect from not having effective material assessment (highly dispersive soils) and faults in construction. Very interesting property though the current owners do not use any of its value.

Pakby, Bathurst, NSW, AU – 727449.00 m E 6292777.00 m S |  33°28’49.29″S 149°26’52.30″E | -33.480358°, 149.447861°)

Pakby was a 2,000-acre property near Bathurst, on the Mid-Western Highway, where the soil was granite. The land had been subjected to the thoughtless tree destruction of earlier days and consequently suffered from strong winds. Pakby was badly eroded in parts with huge erosion gullies, caused by road water, beginning at the boundary fence. Development work diverted the water to new irrigation dams, cultivation for soil improvement was done and strips of land were prepared for tree planting.

Adapted from The Challenge of Landscape (P A Yeomans) 1958
(Thanks to Keyline Historian Geoff Booth for this addition)

Carisbrooke Station, Winton, QLD, AU – 651793.38 m E  7494543.84 m S |  22°38’57.65″S 142°28’38.17″E | -22.649347° 142.477269°

A very arid property that the Phillott family developed in the mid-1960’s with P.A. Yeomans design and development assistance. In Yeomans’ last recorded interview on 3CR in 1979, he spoke at length about this project. Charlie Phillott is an elderly gentleman now and has won numerous land management awards for his work on Carisbrooke. More recently Mr. Phillott has been the subject of foreclosure due to property devaluation by an Australian bank with major newspapers covering his plight. Fortunately the latest news is that Mr. Phillot has resumed at ‘Carisbrooke’ and is restocking which is a great outcome for this fine Australian.

Salée River, New Caledonia – 499971.47 m E 7647199.51 m S | 21°16’37.09″S 164°59’58.99″E | -21.276969° 164.999719°

This property featured in the 1966 documentary that P.A. Yeomans produced titled, ‘Keyline in New Caledonia’ and appears now to have functioning water harvesting systems, however its unclear if this project is still functioning as Yeomans’ designed back then.

‘Cosmorama’, Kiewa, VIC, AU – 500308.00 m E 5988827.00 m S |  36°14’43.62″S 147° 0’12.34″E | -36.245447°, 147.003438°)

In 1967 P A Yeomans brought the Keyline Plan to the Kiewa Valley. He came in response to invitations from Mr Mervyn Barton, then secretary of the Kiewa Regional Development League, who had long admired Keyline and recognised the benefits it would bring to his own property and to the valley.

Source: Barton, M.E. (1998). Keyline at Cosmorama. Baranduda, VIC: Crago Communications. p7 (out of print)
(Thanks to Keyline Historian Geoff Booth for this addition)

Knockalong, Delegate, NSW, AU – 668713.96 m E 5911012.12 m S |  36°55’54.64″S 148°53’39.75″E | -36.931844°, 148.894386°)

Rix Wright’s (dec.) attempts at Keyline farming in 1957 on Knockalong, (Southern Monaro, NSW) proved to be an immediate success. He learnt the benefit of non-inversion tyned cultivation in this light, steep, shale country. This was after dismal attempts at arresting run off by contour banks, which buried the little existing top soil, becoming a burrowing ground for rabbits and often tunnel-eroding to create erosion rather than preventing it. In addition, contour banks or contour ploughing did little for soil development. Water still ran down the gullies unheeded.

Keyline cultivation on the other hand ran at as much as 45 degrees to the contour, the pattern running out and down onto adjoining ridges directing run off to be readily absorbed evenly over the total land surface. Gradually, poor ridges become fertile and soil depth increases.

When clearing, timber belts were left at 13 metre vertical intervals. These remained as permanent contour guide lines for patterned cultivation in the intervening cleared areas.

Dam sites were selected where maximum water storage was possible and the greatest potential for gravity irrigation could be realised on the hillside country below. Dams where interlinked with open channels, wherever possible, so that all water was harnessed and none wasted.

Adapted from Technical Report [B R (Rix) Wright] 17 Jul 1996
(Thanks to Keyline Historian Geoff Booth for this addition)

Orana, Fish Creek, Gippsland, VIC, AU – 418607.65 m E 5718500.52 m S | 38°40’42.09″S 146° 3’51.37″E | -38.678358° 146.064269°

BioDynamic Dairy farmers, Ron & Bev Smith have developed this quite well known property which was the first property certified by NASAA in 1989. It is the subject of many farm tours and has been an enduring operating model of Keyline design for well over 30 years.

Taranaki Farm, Woodend, VIC, AU – 275259.00 m E 5863882.00 m S | 37°20’40.47″S 144°27’46.32″E | -37.344575° 144.462867°

The Falloon family have owned this property since after World War 1 when it was taken on as part of the soldier settlement scheme. Its now managed by Ben Falloon and his father Stan. Regrarians worked as consultants to Taranaki Farm from 1998-2012, where we introduced the concepts of regenerative agriculture and started the Keyline farm development program. Ben Falloon took over the management of Taranaki Farm in 2008 and installed further Keyline systems over 2011/12 initially under our assistance and then on his own. Taranaki Farm is perhaps the premier exponent of the whole Polyface farming system in Australia running, beef and dairy cattle, pastured pigs, layers & broilers and sheep.

McGaffin Farm, Castle Creek, VIC, AU – 481198.00 m E | 5996006.00 m S  36°10’49.96″S 146°47’27.27″E | -36.180544° 146.790908°

I visited this undulating beef property in 1994 as part of a Keyline course led by Vries Gravestein and Allan Lehmann. This property was designed by Mr. Lehmann, a well-known earthmover in the Albury-Wodonga region of NE Victoria. The property was developed such that as John McGaffin explained at the field day there,

“…the cost of developing the Keyline system was much less than buying another property, this being the advice of most experts to us. We followed Allan (Lehmann’s) lead and we effectively doubled our stocking rate so we didn’t need to buy another property!”

Kangaroo Island, SA, AU – 698788.00 m E 6036735.00 m S | 35°47’27.31″S 137°12’0.47″E | -35.790919° 137.200131°

I originally designed this 1500 acre property in the mid-1990’s for a absentee owner. He accordingly built a larger storage and a ‘turkey nest’ irrigation dam which was to be filled by this large new storage. We also designed a significant number of forest and forage plantations which we had contractors establish. We lost contact with the client after that and the property appears to have now developed significant aquaculture systems, presumably ‘Marron’ (Cherax cainii) crayfish.

Kiewa Valley, VIC, AU – 502313.98 m E 5980061.27 m S | 36°19’28.12″S 147° 1’32.77″E | -36.324478° 147.025769°

P.A. Yeomans was heavily involved in the 1960’s and 1970’s with the ‘Murray Development League’ and the ‘Kiewa Keyline Club’. The Kiewa Valley evidently became a centre of interest for Keyline and this was further enhanced by well-known farmer/advocates such as the late Geoff Wallace (best known as developer of the ‘Wallace Plow’). This property is one I’ve chosen as one that is obviously developed using Keyline principles and still using the system for irrigation, most likely for dairy production.

Melton Effluent Treatment Facility, Melton, VIC, AU – 287519.76 m E 5818361.83 m S | 37°45’26.67″S 144°35’16.71″E | -37.757408° 144.587975°

I’ve not visited this site, however I was introduced to the development by the then Shire Engineer who attended and presented the project at the 1994 Keyline Course. P.A. Yeomans had worked with a few effluent treatment facilities and the concept of treating urban effluent was a big part of his advocacy from the late 1960’s as reflected in his presentations in the 1970’s to the United Nations and in his 1971 book, ‘The City Forest’.

Dalpura, Moriac, VIC, AU – 249059.67 m E 5755206.53 m S | 38°18’58.19″S 144° 7’47.02″E | -38.316164° 144.129728°

Regrarians started working with property developer George Howson in 1996 and have been involved as development consultants and project managers at his 140 acre Agroforestry/Timber production property, ‘Dalpura’ ever since. As this property was developed fairly early in our career its not our best expression of Keyline geometry or planning, however its clear that what we have done has worked extremely well and the Keyline patterns we’ve applied have definitely been a big part of that success on what is a pretty challenging site.

Harts Farm, Shoreham, VIC, AU – 325695.49 m E 5746690.74 m S | 38°24’39.76″S 145° 0’12.91″E | -38.411044° 145.003586°

Regrarians designed and worked with the clients to develop this property in the late 1990’s when we were establishing many Olive (Olea europea) groves across SE Australia. This one has a medium-sized ‘equator facing’ olive grove on a relatively steep slope. We angled the rows to slightly drift to the centre of a primary ridge on the western boundary such that the winter-dominated rainfall would be harvested more efficiently whilst providing equidistance between rows. We also built a dam on the northern side of the property with a catchment drain starting on the gravel road at the boundary.

Baringhup, VIC, AU – 757968.71 m E 5907400.32 m S | 36°56’39.00″S 143°53’48.60″E | -36.944167° 143.896833°

Again a property Regrarians developed in the late 1990’s. This project was purchased by a recently retired corporate couple who wanted to establish a 3000 tree olive grove on an existing winter cereal/sheep grazing property. The bulk of the grove is on flat ground so we went with a north-south row orientation. Where the landscape sloped away to a small creek we applied the Keyline pattern to these tree rows. The system looks quite successful from the air at least!

Wehla, VIC, AU – 733230.25 m E 5952916.84 m S | 36°32’26.61″S 143°36’19.76″E | -36.540725° 143.605415°

Regrarians designed and worked with the clients to develop this 150 acre retired grazing block in about 1997. The clients were from the city and wanted to establish olives and trees, build a house and live a rural lifestyle and supplement their income from these crops. We built a series of dams that were linked by a road system and positioned the building envelope. We also set out the olive grove using Keyline patterns though without precision. Nonetheless this was effective at helping to establish the grove on what are extremely droughty and sodic sedimentary clays in a pretty marginal part of central Victoria. I think that the clients sold the property in the mid-2000’s and this latest satellite image indicates that the design has stood the test of time.

Percydale Olives, Percydale, VIC, AU – 712913.36 m E 5898581.04 m S  | 37° 1’58.86″S 143°23’39.99″E | -37.033017° 143.394442°

Regrarians designed and developed this property in the early 2000’s, one of the last projects we developed before we changed our business model around 2002 and slowed down a bit…One of the larger olive groves we designed, it has prospered over time in part because of the Keyline patterned configuration and organic cultivation methods. Our old mate and colleague, David Griffiths of Geometree, has continue to work with the client since he worked with us as a contractor on this site.

Maryborough Effluent Treatment Facility, Maryborough, VIC, AU – 745971.51 m E 5901460.60 m S | 37° 0’3.09″S 143°45’51.10″E | -37.000858° 143.764194°

A project that P.A. Yeomans designed and developed in conjunction with shire engineers in the mid-late 1970’s. Its primary objective was to use Keyline Flood-Flow techniques for the flood irrigation of perennial pastures and timber plantations, which it continues to do to present.

City of Greater Bendigo Forestry, Bagshot, VIC, AU – 260127.50 m E 5943618.14 m S | 36°37’22.12″S 144°19’3.18″E | -36.622811° 144.317551°

My former business partner, colleague, and then Department of Primary Industries Farm Forestry Officer, Forest Scientist, Ben Boxshall designed and developed this 165ha plantation and we worked with Ben to do ground preparation using our Yeomans Keyline Plow-based ‘Dojo’ Ripper/Tiller implement. The plantation was established using some of the council’s investment funds and federal and state government funds, and is the most significant production timber plantation in dryland Victoria. The row orientation uses Keyline patterns on what is a very poorly drained site in winter. Ben was a partner of ours at Regrarians in the mid-1990’s before he took up the Farm Forestry Officer position and remains a great friend. These days he has a sustainable plantation-based firewood business and remains involved with the silvicultural management of this plantation.

Nullavale, VIC, AU – 298922.68 m E 5880050.60 m S  |  37°12’15.76″S 144°44’3.01″E | -37.204378° 144.734169°

Regrarians designed and developed this granite-based site back in 1999. Due to the saturated conditions in winter we decided to orient most of the mixed species forestry block and widely-spaced tree crop rows across the contour, increasing the drainage of water towards a network of water storage dams. The biggest Keyline feature of this property is the prominent 6ML ridge dam (fitted with a 8″/200mm ø PE lock pipe) on the western side of the property. Our old mate and colleague, David Griffiths of Geometree (who started working with Regrarians as a tree establishment contractor in the mid-1990’s and then went on to run his own consulting, establishment & management business), has managed this property for the client since the early 2000’s.

McIvor Farm, Tooborac, VIC, AU – 303712.58 m E 5896293.79 m S | 37° 3’32.72″S 144°47’32.51″E | -37.059089° 144.792364°

Jason and Belinda Hagan are the 5th generation of their family on this prominent property. A family succession event had this couple shift their sheep and pastured pig operation to the less developed half of the family farm and they called Regrarians in to help them design and develop this which we did over 2012/13. Another winter-saturated, granite-based soil, the primary focus of developing this farm was providing all-weather access across the property and installing a gravity water supply. Accordingly we built a ridge-based farm road system and the highest possible elevation for a gully dam on the property. Sub-division fencing and now tree crops are placed using Keyline patterns with an underground pipe network following the same grid providing a pressurised water supply to their intensively managed and very successful pastured pig operation.

Bobinawarrah, VIC, AU – 457761.82 m E 5954048.33 m S | 36°33’29.02″S 146°31’40.79″E | -36.558061° 146.527997°

This couple came to a Regrarians earthworks course we ran at Dehesa Felix in 2010 ahead of Regrarians completing a concept plan for them soon after. Main job on this site was to secure a gravity water supply, create a main access and building envelope.

Maldon, VIC, AU – 248771.76 m E 5904755.05 m S | 36°58’11.28″S 144°10’40.36″E | -36.969800° 144.177878°

David Griffiths of Geometree designed, established and manages this timber plantation on marginal sedimentary soils here in central Victoria. Again a retired sheep grazing property, Dave applied Keyline patterns to the layout of the plantation and uses a Yeomans Keyline Plow for the ground preparation. I happened to help him plant this plantation after returning from our 2011 world tour and it seems to be growing well…better go visit it to see how it looks on the ground.

Mt. Egerton, VIC, AU – 242860.72 m E 5830142.45 m S |  37°38’23.64″S 144° 5’8.61″E | -37.639900° 144.085726°

Regrarians designed and developed the first phases of this property in the late 1990’s for an oil company executive who’d come from a farm and wanted to move back to one. As with all jobs back in the 1997-2001 period, I designed the holding based on Konrad Ensor’s Total Station-based topographic/feature survey (Regrarians Surveying Contractor back then) with Konrad setting out the design (that he’d digitise and refine) David Griffiths and our crew developing the land and doing the follow up management. The Keyline elements of the property are the olive and forestry-row orientations plus the main access/gradient drain feeding the main dam at the eastern end of the holding, though this is looking pretty empty in this February 2014 image!

5 thoughts on “Keyline Project Sites

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    1. Darren Doherty Post author

      Thanks Brad,

      I only just saw this so my apologies for not answering earlier.

      The only site of note in WA that I know of is Ron Watkins. However I’ve not visited the site, met Ron or know of its location.



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