Lowline cattle were developed by the NSW Department of Agriculture from registered Angus stock at their research centre in Trangie NSW Australia. The research centre was created in 1929 to provide quality Angus genetics to the NSW cattle industry. Seed stock were purchased from Scotland, Canada, America and selected Australian Studs to form the foundation of the herd. From 1929 to 1963 the Angus herd was prominent in the Australian showing circuit and won many major awards. The research herd was closed to outside genetics in 1964 after the purchase of herd sires from leading Australian Studs, Wambanumba, Glengowan, Tulagi and Wallah.
In 1963 the emphasis at Trangie was changed to scientific research in the form of performance recording. The project, involving weight gain, structural measurements, objective visual assessment and selective breeding, continued through to 1973 and pioneered performance testing in Australia today. The trial which produced the Lowline breed began in 1974, with funding from the Australian Meat Research Corporation, to evaluate selection for growth rate on herd profitability. The aim was to establish whether large or small animals were more efficient converters of grass into meat. This project continued for 19 years. The Trangie herd was divided into three groups based on yearling growth rates. The high yearling growth rate cattle were named High lines, the low yearling growth rate cattle were named the Low line and a randomly selected group was named the Control line. A program of detailed evaluation was implemented, which included weight gain, feed intake, reproductive performance, milk production, carcass yield and structural correctness. The protein conversion performances of the High line and the Low line cattle were monitored and recorded on an individual basis. The lines continued to grow apart with the selection process and recorded on an individual basis.
After 15 years the Low line of cattle were around 30% smaller than the High lines. The result of the efficiency in conversion was the same for the bulk of the Low and High line groups. The original Low line herd comprised 85 cows, which were joined to yearling bulls also selected for low growth from birth to yearling age. From 1974 the Low line herd remained closed, with all replacement bulls and heifers from within the Low line herd.
Towards the end of the trial a group of interested cattlemen persuaded the Department of Agriculture to sell the Low line of cattle on the open market. On the 8th of August 1992, 9 bulls, 23 heifers and 7 cows were sold to 7 purchasers. They then formed the Australian Lowline Cattle Association. The complete dispersal sale followed on October 30, 1993 where 20 bulls were sold, together with 44 cows and 51 heifers.