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Our Story

Meet our Five Founders

Our story begins in 1877

William Collins
William Forrest
Sir Thomas McIlwraith
John Warner
Sir William Ingram

In 1877 when Queenslanders William Collins, William Forrest, and Sir Thomas McIlwraith were joined by Englishmen John Warner and Sir William Ingram to form The North Australian Pastoral Company (NAPCo), little did they know they were laying the foundation for more than 140 years of sustainable beef farming.

Our five founders were the original lessees of the great Alexandria Downs Station in the Northern Territory – now known simply as ‘Alexandria’, it continues its flagship role within NAPCo’s operation.

The new company survived the financial and drought-induced crises of the 1890s mainly due to its Burdekin properties which were less drought-affected and close to abattoirs.

The first two decades of the 20th Century saw more drought, a world war and changes in the ownership structure.

In 1937, Francis Foster invested heavily in NAPCo taking an interest which grew through his lifetime bringing with it exceptional pastoral skills and a long-term vision which laid the basis its composite breeding program and pioneering contributions to land care, conservation and disease minimisation.

“Spanning a vast area of the nation and with a head of approximately 200,000 cattle today, NAPCo is an outstanding Queensland business, typifying the State’s pastoral heritage, pioneering spirit and resilience. Remarkably, descendants of the founding entrepreneurs have continued to play leading roles in the company until the present day.”


Integration breeds success NAPCo’s longevity

NAPCo ’s longevity and operational success has been partly due to its integration of multiple properties into a resilient chain for breeding, fattening and drought-proofing, complemented by the Wainui feedlot on the Darling Downs. Alexandria which provides stock to other properties in the channel country, central Queensland and the Darling Downs remains the core of the operation.



NAPCo has experienced sustained growth since the 1980s. A defining characteristic of the company’s success has been a family approach to the business under a succession of inspirational leaders including Foster family members; Douglas Fraser, Michael Crouch and more recently Christopher Lyndon and Nigel Alexander.

In May 2016, the Queensland Government acquired an 79% interest in NAPCo with the Foster family owning the remaining share ensuring that local control of this important national business continues.

Today, NAPCo has moved from being a cattle-only company to become one of Australia’s biggest producers of Prime-quality branded beef.

The survival and development of NAPCo over more than 140 years is a tribute to the people involved; in particular the character, ability, foresight and extraordinary dedication of those who have contributed both on and off the properties.


  • 1877 – 1880
    • Five founders establish North Australian Pastoral Company
  • 1910 – 1940
    • Channel country purchased for its natural, lush vegetation
    • The Foster family acquired Forrest’s share in NAPCo
  • 1940 – 1970
    • Consolidation and development
  • 1970 – 1990
    • Expansion through the Gulf, Central QLD and Feedlot
    • World Class Breeding Program commences
    • Property acquisition
  • 1990 – Current
    • Introduction of environmental management program
    • 600,000 ha dedicated to a Listed Conservation Plan and Nature Refuge 
    • Complete traceability from birth to processing
    • NAPCo inducted into the Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame, 2016
    • Acquisition of backgrounding properties
    • Queensland Investment Corporation bought in 2016
    • Five Founders branded beef launched in 2018

People and Properties

Our People

The North Australian Pastoral Company is a major player in Australia’s cattle industry managing a herd of 200,000 cattle, across six million hectares of land across Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Five Founders Beef is born and raised on wide open pastures and is the product of generations of farmers who have spent their lives overseeing the entire operation from breeding to fattening, with the health and wellbeing of our cattle always priority.

For them, raising cattle is not a job; it’s a way of life.

We’ve spent more than 140 years crafting the finest quality beef for you to enjoy.

Our Locations

Click on the hotspots for information on our stations

Close Map
1,641,416 hectares - 80,000 cattle
Alexandria breeds and grows weaners for eventual consignment to the Wainui Feedlot. The property is also home to the Alexandria Composite stud and each year approximately 10 000 bales of hay are harvested on the station.
108,000 hectares - 10,000 cattle
Boomarra supplies weaners for eventual consignment to Wainui Feedlot. The property is also the headquarters for the Kynuna Composite stud, supplying bulls to other NAPCO properties.
214,000 hectares - 13,000 cattle
Coolullah has a large variety of land types with the spinifex hills and ranges to the west, through to the alluvial flats along the Leichhardt river, and areas of open downs. The property produces weaners for eventual consignment to Wainui Feedlot.
637,000 hectares - 7,000 cattle
Coorabulka operates as a grower property for weaners prior to consignment to backgrounding properties or directly to the Wainui Feedlot. Coorabulka is managed in conjunction with Monkira.
21,870 hectares - 8,000 cattle
Steers from Queensland’s Channel Country and the Company’s breeder properties are sent to Cungelella for backgrounding prior to consignment to Wainui Feedlot.
692,000 hectares - 10,000 cattle
Glenormiston is operated as a breeding property, breeding and growing weaners for eventual consignment to Wainui Feedlot.
11,600 hectares - 4,000 cattle
Surplus heifers from the Company’s breeder properties are backgrounded prior to consignment to Wainui Feedlot.
140,563 hectares - 4,000 cattle
Kynuna and Dagworth are operated jointly as grass finishing properties.
Mantuan Downs
135,000 hectares - 16,500 cattle
Mantuan Downs’ role is to grow cattle received from NAPCO breeder properties and prepare them for entry into Wainui Feedlot.
Marion Downs
1,287,000 hectare - 17,500 cattle
Marion Downs operates as a grass finishing property.
695,500 hectares - 20,000 cattle
Mittiebah is a breeding station, breeding and growing weaners for eventual consignment to Wainui Feedlot.
373,000 hectares - 7,800 cattle
Monkira operates as a grower property for weaner steers prior to consignment to backgrounding properties or direct to the Wainui Feedlot. Monkira is managed in conjunction with Coorabulka.
Portland Downs
99,957 hectares - 8,000 cattle
Portland Downs’ role is to grow cattle received from NAPCO breeder properties and prepare them for entry into Wainui Feedlot.
Wainui Feedlot+Farm
5,000 hectares - 18,000 cattle
Wainui Feedlot feeds cattle for various grainfed markets and rations are mixed on-site using grain processed through a state of the art steam flaking feed mill.
A 5,000 hectare dry-land and irrigated farming enterprise also operates on the property.