The North Australian Pastoral Company is one of Australia’s largest and oldest private cattle companies.
It began in the 1877 rush to take up land in the Northern Territory. A vast area of the Barkly Tableland was leased by a partnership of five men: Queenslanders William Collins, William Forrest and Sir Thomas McIlwraith, and Englishmen Sir William Ingram and John Warner. Today, the family-based company which evolved from the partnership still holds the greater part of that original land as Alexandria Station – the biggest cattle station in the Northern Territory. Descendent of three original partners still hold shares in the NAP company.
The title – You Can’t Make it Rain – derives form a poignant comment of Phillip Forrest, managing director and chairman of NAP, shortly before he resignation in 1936. Forrest wrote. ‘I have done my best over a long trying period, but I cannot make it rain.’ The comment is a telling reminder of the over-riding importance of water for pastoralists, and of the often grim struggle for survival in that industry. You Can’t Make It Rain is the story of one notable survivor.