Harden

Built in the 1970’s by council, Southern meats purchased and ran with US consortium. US sheepmeat import tariffs caused short closures but lack of supply of animals due to extended drought caused final closure in 2006.

Other Names

  • None known.

Current Operation

  • Closed 20065

Location   

  • Harden is located in south west NSW, 30km south of Young

 

Hema Maps – Australia Truckies atlas.

Owner

  • General Manager – Glen Crebs (American)1
  • Southern Meats – Manager Neville Newton2

Other abattoirs in Australia

Go to this link to view Location of Australian Abattoirs

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Operation

  • Sole purpose was to process lambs for the American market1
    • Primarily for the North American market7
  • Boning room is purpose built for further processing of customer orders.7
  • Skins collected are processed at Goulburn to drum salt stage7
  • Employs 150 people2 
  • Brands – Fine Brand, Country Meadow, Southern Cross.7

History

1970’s

  • Plant was built by the local council3

1980

  • facility sold to private business3

1987

  • November. Harden facility is listed as a Domestic meat processing site10.
    • Operated as Harden Slaughterhouse10

1995

  • Glen Crebs came to site when smaller abattoir existed, joint venture of operation was created.1

1998

  • opened as joint venture with Superior Farms USA.1
  • facility was refurbished in the late 1990’s3
  • Converted to an export-only meatworks supplying high quality lamb to overseas markets3

1999

  • USA considering placing tarriff on Australian and New Zealand lamb in response to calls from the struggling Americal lamb industry1
    • USA trade is worth more than $100M each year1
  • 10,000 lambs slaughtered at Harden each week,1
    • all cut to suit USA market demand1
      • racks, not chops1
      • sold as ‘Country Meadow Austral American Brand’1
  • June. If increased tarriffs are implemented by USA it would be worst-case scenerio for Harden1
  • Note of a recent event that occured in the region; the loss of jobs at Harden abattoir affecting lamb producers following the US lamb tariff decision4

2001

  • Southern Meats Pty Ltd – figures for year ending December 20026, Harden and Goulburn abattoir (NSW)
    • Ranked 10th in Top 25 Australian beef and Sheepmeat processors for 20016
    • Throughput 65,000 ETCW (estimated tonnes carcase weight)6
    • Turnover $225M6

2002

  • Southern Meats Pty Ltd – figures for year ending December 20026, Harden and Goulburn abattoir (NSW) combined.
    • Ranked 12th in Top 25 Australian beef and Sheepmeat processors for 20026
    • Throughput 49,000 ETCW (estimated tonnes carcase weight)6
    • Kill share 1.8%6
    • Turnover $206M6
    • Total staff 7006

2003

  • Plant forced to shut down for 3 months as stock numbers dwindled.3
    • Closed due to supply shortage during the drought.9
  • Southern Meats Pty Ltd – figures for year ending December 20037, Harden and Goulburn abattoir (NSW) combined.
    • Ranked 14th in Top 25 Australian beef and Sheepmeat processors for 20027
    • Throughput 46,675 ETCW (estimated tonnes carcase weight)7
    • Turnover $180M7

 2004

  • Now owned by Southern Meats Goulburn2
    • with an American consortium3
    • Authors note – some articles show Southern meats owned the plant prior to 2004, I’m not sure if 2004 is just when the American consortium joined.
  • June. Plant staff had been stood down2
    • 120 full time staff.2
  • Last 18 months meatworks in Woy Woy, Mudgee abattoir (NSW), Orange, Forbes abattoir (NSW) have all closed, loss of close to 500 jobs.3
  • July. closed, possibly for the next 2 years.2
    • Situation hasn’t been good for 2-3 last years2
    • expected to stay closed at least for 12 months and possibly longer3
      • effects of the worst drought on record continue to be felt in the region3
      • Until the drought breaks there is a lot of uncertainty all through the bush. The company really had no option but to close down” Harden Mayor, Chris Manchester3
  • Major problem facing industry was lack of growth in Australian sheep flock2
    • skyrocketing cost of lambs in recent years2
    • Breaking even on selling lambs at $100 but paying $150.2
    • Lamb prices in general were higher than what the US can pay2
  • Southern Meats Pty Ltd – figures for year ending December 20047, Harden and Goulburn abattoir (NSW) combined.
    • Ranked 10th in Top 25 Australian beef and Sheepmeat processors for 20047
    • Throughput 55,000 ETCW (estimated tonnes carcase weight)7
    • Kill share 2.6%7
    • Turnover $185M7
    • Total staff 4807
    • Productio split 95% export, 5% domestic7
    • Species split 75% sheep, 25% lamb7

2005

  • August. Abattoir wil re-open as lamb numbers increase across the region.9

2006

  • September. Operated for early part of 2006 before being shut permanently  and broken up.8
  • Abattoir closed5
    • 130 jobs lost5
  • Boning and packing facilities continued to be leased to others who processed stock11

2008

  • Local producers start Argyle Meat business11.
    • Lachlan and Andrina Graham11
      • Integrated supply chain meat business that leased the boning and packing facilities11.

2014

  • July. Argyle Meats who had been leasing the boning and packing facilities at this time move their operation to the former dairy factory at Nowra11
    • Nowra facility was more high-tech11

Sources

  1. ‘Unkindest cut for small town abattoir’ Sydney Morning Herald 14.06.1999
  2. ‘Harden abattoir closes; Goulburns future uncertain’ Goulburn Post 11.07.2004
  3. ‘Abattoir cuts 150 jobs’ AMIEU Archives. 05.07.2004
  4. Regional radio inquiry submission – Federation of Australian radio broadcasters limited. November 2000.
  5. ‘Positive outlook for Harden in 2014’ Harden Murrumburrah Express 13.12.2013
  6. Feedback’s Top 25 beef and sheepmeat processors for 2002.
  7. Feedback’s Top 25 red meat processors for 2004
  8. Feedback’s Top 25 red meat processors for 2006.
  9. ‘Harden abattoir reopens boosting local economy’ NSW ABC country hour. 17.06.2005
  10. List. Nov 1987.
  11. ‘Manildra Group’s meaty move’ www.farmonline.com.au

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