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. http://www.upperhuntertourism.com.au
  2. ‘Hunter’s Meat Axe’ Newcastle Herald 15.05.1999. http://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 http://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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