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Guide to Tocal

Sheep and poultry farms

Bona Vista

photo of Bona Vista

Bona Vista is a 100ha property purchased by the College in 1974. It is part of the original property of the same name which was granted to Captain James Phillips in 1823. The current Bona Vista house was built in 1876 by the well-known Newcastle Doctor RRS Bowker. Bona Vista is now the College Manager’s residence.

The Tocal sheep flock is run on Bona Vista for educational purposes only, as the humid climate is not suited to sheep production. The flock of approximately 250 breeding ewes is joined to produce over 300 lambs per year. These are generally sold for meat production at the Tamworth market. Wool is harvested each year, with over one tonne being shorn. Wool classing is carried out by Tocal students in the on-site facility that is also operated by TAFE for their wool-classing courses. The flock is grazed on introduced and native pastures, some of which is irrigated.

photo of Marshall

The Tocal flock is guarded by a Maremma dog. Marshall was introduced to the flock in 1997 following several fatal dog attacks. Maremmas are an Italian breed used as livestock guardians. Marshall was bonded to the sheep as a pup and has been protecting the flock since he was 12 months old.


Numeralla, the chicken farm operated by the CB Alexander Foundation, produces over 6 batches of chickens per year – totalling more than 786,000 birds in 4 sheds. Numeralla is contracted to Bartters who own the chickens and supply all feed and technical assistance throughout the process.  All the sheds are tunnel ventilated and computer controlled.

photo of Numeralla

The chickens arrive at the sheds when they are one day old and are grown for 5 to 7 weeks during which time they go from about 40 grams to over 2.5 kilograms. At four weeks of age each chicken generates the same heat as a 100-watt light globe!