Far Off Fields

Far Off Fields

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Australia, Collymongle, Elm Field Castle, Guildford, New South Wales




Transmission 20/10/1988


24min 54sec




1 inch



Digitised as part of the UTV Archive Partnership Project (ITV, Northern Ireland Screen and PRONI)


Department for Communities, Fast Forward Productions, ITV, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland

Rights Holder

Fast Forward Productions, ITV

It is illegal to download, copy, print or otherwise utilise in any other form this material, without written consent from the copyright holder.


The Shaw family from Co. Down, and their journey buying a farm in New South Wales, Australia - which they turned into the largest cotton property in the world.

The story began in the late 70's when Sam Shaw came across an advert in the Financial Times on holiday in Majorca. The ad was for a farm for sale  in Australia and being intrigued he went to visit it, though he didn't end up purchasing that exact one, it sparked an idea of possibility and in 1979 bought Collymongle. 

Derek Shaw, his son, wanted "the best of both worlds" opportunities in Australia and the quality of life in Northern Ireland (NI). With the Shaw's already running a successful cattle farm in NI, they were well equipped for the task, a tactic they used to ensure the well running of the estate was to employ a top management team and involved them as shareholders. Though not all fun and games, Derek ended up flying to Australia every three days for a time, which added up to "3 weeks of the year sitting in a seat"!

Success also came due to the dedication of Derek's wife Ann, who though found the early days hard due to young children, also ended up making around 35 trips to Australia and dealt with staff problems and making sure the environment the employees lived in was as pleasant as possible. 


A Fast Forward Production for Ulster Television.

Directed and Produced by John Johnston



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