Murray Bridge

Current Operation

  • Accredited to AUS-MEAT 14.01.13
  • Establishment Number 0533.


Australia. Murray Bridge16.06.13

Map Murray Bridge


  • (1999)T & R (Murray Bridge) Pty Ltd  08 8532 1955
  • Thomas and Rowe Families. 2008 Thomas’s bought out Rowe’s
  • Thomas Foods International (name change from T & R)March 2013.4


  • Export abattoir
  • Beef, sheep, goats1
  • T & R is the largest family-owned multi species export processor, with 120,000 sheep and lambs + 5000 cattle processed across 3 states each week3
  • Also own abattoirs Lobethal (SA), Tamworth (NSW), Wallangarra (NSW)3
  • T & R is biggest lotfeeder in SA – 6500 cattle on-feed Wanderribby Feedlot, Meningie3
  • Headquarters based at Murray Bridge3
  • Purchased 50% share of diversified wholesaler/distributor Holco meat5
  • Turnover of $1.3B, is nations largest lamb and mutton exporter and significant beef, exports 80% to more than 80 countries5
  • 80% of beef is value added – Brand labels – Country Fresh, FoodComm (USA) & Holco3




  • March 2.High court in Melbourne ruled that South Australia (MEAB Gepps Cross (SA)) could not challenge the validity of the commonwealth regulations in regards to being sole authority of meat export in that state (Pg 88).8
  • July 4. Privy court in London ruled South Australia’s claim was invalid to be sole authority of slaughter of stock for meat export in that state (Pg 88).8
  • Noarlunga Abattoir (SA) victory in the courts effectively spelt the end of the monopoly held by Gepps Cross works and saw a number of other abattoirs begin operation with a view to export meat (Pg 89).8


  • Meat Trader RK Bartholomew and trade Buyer RF Hooper purchase Murray Bridge Meatworks(Pg 89).8
    • RK Bartholomew of Bartholomew Meat, Lobethal
    • RF Hooper of Murray Bridge


  • Owners of Murray Bridge hold talks with councillors and business people to expand the works
    • Intend to process per year (Pg 89).8
      • 250,000 sheep and lambs
      • 25,000 cattle
      • 10,000 calves
    • Would use Charles David Pty Ltd (Sydney based) for business administration and export services
  • Expansion of the Murray Bridge site would reduce the number of animals transported to Victoria for processing (Pg 89).8


  • Abattoir facilities purchased by T & R3.


  • Chronic labour shortage in meat industry and meat processors are accussed of using 457 temporary visa programs to bring in skilled labour but underpaying and using the people for other work positions.6
    • Visas granted to industries nationwide (not only meat processors) jumped 40% from previous year.6
    • Freeze was placed on 457 Visa applications to meatworks by Government over concerns of breachs of conditions. – Delays are said to be hampering meatwork operations6
      • lack of employees have some processors throwing product away rather than be processed due to lack of labour and is causing missed opportunities in export markets6
  • 457 Visa means worker must stay with employer for 4 years, Meant to meet criteria of skilled slaughtermen and only used for that position, not as unskilled labourers, boners.6
  • Recruitment companies find the workers and match to employer, usually the employer finds accommodation and deducts rent and travel from workers salaries – AMIEU claim exorbitant rents are being charged1
  • Union complaining that 457 Visas workers. “Workers who are being brought into Australia are in many cased being exploited,are being abused , and not being paid correctly and being misued at work” Graham Bird AMIEU6
  • Cranbourne abattoir (Vic) employ 20 Chinese workers – they are bussed to the abattoir from homes rented by the company, all 457 visas. – Cranbourne say its operations all above board6
  • Murray Bridge abattoir is subject of investigation into whether it’s using visa holders to do other jobs6
  • subject of Government investigation of if 457 Visa holders are doing other jobs.6
  • Western Australia had 36 Investigations, 80% of employers found to be in breach of conditions and WA department of employment protection recovered $200,000 in underpayment of wages (Authors note – article didn’t specify if across all industries or only meat processing)6


  • Major refurbishment of plant – Capacity 700 cattle, 8000 lambs a day5
  • Cutting edge technology – loin, leg and trunk lamb boning machines, site prepares value added product5.
  • USDA accredited, contracts approved for McDonalds, Burger King, Woolworths and Coles5.


  • Organic processing. 80-300 head a week


  • February. Receive $3.25M carbon abatement grants – Clean technology allocations2
  • Project cost $9.744 involving 4 sub projects – reduce emissions by 29% saving $1.1M year
  1. convert single meal processing line into 2 higher efficiency streams
  2. replace 4 natural gas fired boilers with 2 new boiler packages using LPG and biogas
  3. replace current blood drier with more energy efficient one
  4. replace current odour burners with bio filter2.
  • March.  Changing brand and identity – Now Thomas Foods International


  • July. Thomas foods encouraging adoption of Individual Electronic identification (IED) of sheep7
  • Note NLIS is compolsory for cattle in Australia but currently mob identification is acceptable for sheep.7
  • Sheep IED costly, $0.83 per head in Victoria – where it is subsidised but $1.10 per tag in other states.7
  • European Union alread do IED, could force onto Australian producers7
    • highly likely in the next 3-5 years7

Sources – Murray Bridge.

  1.  AUS_MEAT Accreditation list 14.01.13
  2. ‘Teys, T & R in latest round of carbon abatement grants’ Beef Central 18.02.13
  3. ‘SA processor T & R beefs up its business’ Beef Central 13.02.13
  4. ‘New face for T & R reflects changing nature of the business’ Beef Central. 22.03.13.
  5. ‘T & R takes 50pc stake in Holco business’ Beef Central 19.10.12
  6. ‘Meat Industry accused of exploiting foreign workers’ ABC 7.30 report 31.07.2006
  7. ‘EID drives repeat lamb market sales’ Stock Journal 17.07.2014
  8. ‘The Meat Game – A history of the Gepps Cross Abbattoirs and Livestock Markets’ Richard Maurovic
  20. Court case.

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