This paper provides historical context for contemporary discourses onlandownership, notably the changing scale of absentee landownership and foreign ownershipsince 1849. Trends in landownership since European occupation of one of the mostagriculturally productive regions in south east Australia, the Lachlan River catchment, areexamined at regional, shire and district scales. Evolution of tenure indicates that absenteelandowners owned most of the land until after 1935, but between the 1860s and 1970 theproportion of landowners who were resident landowners increased. In 1970, residentlandowners owned most land. Since 1970, absentee landownership has increased, the mostdramatic increase occurring after 1990. By 2009, absentee landownership had reached thehigh levels of 1849. While most contemporary types of landowners have historicalantecedents, new trends include changes in the country of origin of foreign investors,increased small property ownership by city-based individuals and the establishment ofIndigenous incorporated ownership.