Rice growing trials began in the area and in 1954 the Australian Minister Harold Holt enticed American mega-millionaire Alan Chase to plant half a million acres to turn the Northern Territory into the world’s largest rice producer.
Chase formed the company Territory Rice and by 1959, 5500 acres were under cultivation in the Humpty Doo area. It was proposed the rice growing area would be subdivided into 400 small farms with housing and townships.
However, in 1956 signs of trouble emerged when magpie geese destroyed a large area of rice crops along with other failings including undercapitalisation, poor judgement over wet and dry weather conditions, poor soils, unsuitable drainage and high production costs.
In 1961 Territory Rice discontinued its own field operations, but kept share farming until 1962 when it bailed out of the rice project altogether.