Aberdeen. #736. NSW

Closed Export accredited abattoir that processed beef.

It was intended to be upgraded in 1996 but closed in 1999 due to costs of processing.


  • Aus-Meat accreditation
    • Facility #7368.
    • Export Abattoir. Beef8.
  • Closed 19991.


  • 13km N of Mussellbrook, 110 NW of Newcastle

Australia. Aberdeen

Map - Aberdeen.

Location relative to other abattoirs across Australia

Go to this link to view Australian Abattoir Locations



  •  Aberdeen Beef Company
  • Australian Meat Holdings




  • 361acres purchased. Australian Chilling and Freezing Co established1.


  • First cargo of sheep and lambs processed1

1894 – 96 

  • Shut down due to drought and typhoid epidemic1


  • Reopened after many more years of drought1
  • Closed 5 months latter due to low supply1


  • Began to process beef, rabbits and pigs, new areas of business also – butter1


  • F.J Walker1
  • Modernisation in CO2 to transport chilled produce


  • New mutton slaughter house, plus tallow processing1


  • “In NSW 20 abattoirs have ceased operations and 4,000 jobs lost” Mr John Barry Mildren (ALP) Ballarat7
    • 27 meatworks has closed or forfeited export licences across Australia – loss of jobs of 10,571 people. Mr John Charles Kerin (ALP) Warriwa, Leader of opposition at the time7


  • Elders IXL Group1


  • Up to 1984 all livestock processed for export and domestic1
  • From 1984 on only cattle processed, graded, weighed, sliced, vacuum packed, blast frozen and stored for distribution1


  • Elders traded under name Aberdeen Beef Company1


  • AMH purchase the facility10


  • AMH controlled by big US rural commodities trader – ConAgra, a major exporter from North America5
  • AMH accounts for 16.5% of Australia’s beef kill.5
  • currently owns another 8 facilities but will be consolidating to 5 and closing
    • Beaudesert (QLD),
    • Guyra. NSW and
    • Portland (Vic)6
  • AMH continued to own
    • Dinmore,
    • Townsville,
    • Rockhampton
    • and Aberdeen5
      • Author note – not sure of 8th.
    • Intended that 300 jobs would be replaced at Dinmore when expansion completed there10
  • AMH undertaking a detailed study of redeveloping  the Aberdeen plant, would require an additional $50M upgrade to become internationally competitive


  • March 16. Six weeks prior to official closure meatworks had a temporary closure10
  • April 16. Facility officially closes10
  • 400 employees received no income for 6 weeks10
    • Employees weren’t terminated, therefore didn’t qualify for social security10.
  • Chief executive of AMH departs for an overseas trip the day of the Aberdeen abattoir closure10
  • AMH weren’t interested in re-opening the works10
    • More interested in bolstering other sites they owned at the time10
  • AMH didn’t want to offer the facility to be leased but rather it be ‘mothballed’10
  • AMH didn’t act in good faith of workers10.
  • Aberdeen had a population of 1,70010
    • 1 in 4 people in the town had been employed at the facility10.
  • Closed1
    • 109 year old landmark, 400 local jobs2
  • More abattoirs could be threatened in meat industry shake-up.2
    • Other abattoirs in Scone/Hunter area future may not be stable2
  • NSW Opposition called on state government to push for further negotiations with AMH to persuade company to re-open.2
  • Closure reason – cited as stock shortages.3
  • AMH closed Aberdeen to send all cattle to Dinmore abattoir (QLD) – Even with added cost of cartage costs of processing were still $14 per head/cattle cheaper processed in QLD than NSW4


  • November. Hon bob Carr MP, Premier of NSW announces a $12M NSW Meat processing Industry restructuring program to operate over a 3 year period9.
  • Evident that the NSW Meat processing industry has and is likely to experience structural change. Rationalisation within the industry will most likely lead to a net reduction in the number of abattoirs and employee’s required9.



  1. Aberdeen. www.upperhuntertourism.com.au
  2. ‘Hunter’s Meat Axe’ Newcastle Herald 15.05.1999. www.abattoirs.com.au
  3. http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/hansart.nsf/V3Key/LA20020314031
  4. ‘State rule shut abattoir’ The land. 06.07.00
  5. US beef exporters force three abattoirs to close SMH 15.05.2013
  6. ‘Guyra abattoir closure’ Mr Raymond Chappell 15.05.96 www.parliment.nsw.gov
  7. Parliamentary Hansard, 20 August 1981. Pg 595 – 604
  8. Aus-Meat Accreditation List. November 1987.
  9. Industry training. Clements, Speers

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