Curtin Springs (NT)

A small closed abattoir located South west of Alice Springs that used to cater to local aboriginal communities and Ayers rock regions. The facility has now been converted to a tourism, paper making workshop.

Other Names

Current Operation

  • Closed

Location

  • 85km east of the entrance to the Uluru national Park (Ayers Rock) and 360 km South west of Alice Springs.

Australia. Curtin

Pic. Curtin Springs abattoir located South West of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory

Other Australian Abattoir locations

Owner

  • Peter and Ashley Severin5

Operation

  • Supplied to Aboriginal communities in the area beef that was cheaper than Alice Springs.1

History

1956

  • Severins began operation of the property – working cattle station2
    • helped to develepe tourism to Uluru (100km away)2
    • Curtin Springs was the first wayside Inn in the region. With a store, licensed pub, accommodation and camp sites.2
    • Drive market caters to 300,000 people annually.2
  • 1956 to current period (2014) – Severins’ developed a substantial tourist business along with managing their cattle station of the same name.5
    • Curtin Springs Wayside Inn has a store, licensed pug, fuel, 27 accomodation rooms and camping grounds.5
    • Now caters to the drive market of approximately 300,000 people.5

1970’s

  • Cattle prices were extremely low. Low communities  (including Ayers Rock) did not believe they were receiving good quality meat from their usual suppliers.5
  • Severin’s built the fully licensed commercial abattoir5
    • Considered state of the art at the time and well above industry standards5
      • Facility was later used as a basis for other people who set up abattoirs on their properties.6
      • Urapunga abattoir (NT)
    • Operated with a commercial butchers shop5
    • Employed 3 full time butchers, 1 apprentice, 1 labourer and both Peter and Ashley Severin5
  • Processed 30 head per week, on a single kill day.5
    • Rest of week was used to break up the carcases, pack, freeze and present for retail.5
    • Sourced cattle from local cattle stations – The Gardens, Mulga Park, Tempe Downs, Orange Creek and Haasts Bluff.5
  • Delivery was by aircraft, up to 4 hours by air (one way)5
  • At one stage operating 2 planes, with a full time pilot.5
  • Regular customers – Italian and Greek Immigrants in Alice Springs, for slink meat (Unborn calf meat)5
  • Bull meat was sent to Adelaide as slash and pack5

Curtain Springs._edited-1Pic. Source Lyndee Severin. Interpretive Information page.
Curtin Spring abattoir in operation

Curtin Springs Paper - Old Abattoir  (1)Pic. Source L. Severin. Yards and ramp leading to abattoir

Curtin Springs - Abattoir pictures (3)Pic. L. Severin. Gutting the carcase

Untitled_edited-1Pic. Source Lyndee Severin. Interpretive Information page.
Initial skining and carcase treatment after slaughter.

Curtin Springs - Abattoir pictures (6)Pic. Source L. Severin. Cutting the carcase down the back bone to create 2 sides.

1980’s

  • Facility closed.4
  • Closed due to local politics.5
  • Various attempts to re-open the facility however constraints around staffing was always the greatest challenge.5

2011

  • Federal Government conducted a camel cull in the area that was allocated $19M5
    • Feral Camel situation is complex and layered. No simple answer to the control of the feral camel population.5
    • Large proportion of the funding went to the development of infrastructure and skills on aboriginal managed land for increased commercial removal of camels.5
  • Suggestion was put to government that funding could be supplied to pay for abattoirs, fixed or mobile.1
    • Produce dried meat that could be sent as emergency food supplies in famine affected areas.1
    • Growing demand for camel meat, hide, teeth, fat, milk, toenails and blood products.5
    • Security of the camel processing industry must be supported by domesticated herds. Opportunistic removal are not consistent or reliable.5
    • Bulk of feral camel populations are on aboriginal owned land which have challenges regarding dedicated commercial activities.5

2014

  • July. Application is made to NT Pastoral land board under new arrangement to allow diversification of pastoral properties to develope other businesses beside cattle production.
    • Abattoir to be refitted to make paper. Estimated Cost. $51,0803

Aerial Photo_edited-1Source NT Planning Application – Curtain Springs July 2014
Curtain Springs roadhouse located south (top of picture) of the Lasseters Highway, the abattoir located north (bottom of picture)

  • Sept. NT Government provide grant $45,680, from funding that for tourism development and infrastructure.2
    • Funding is to develop tourism walks along salt lakes and paper making workshop within the abattoir building.2
  • Old Abattoir building now houses the production area and a retail area.5
  • Many of the original features of the working abattoir have been retained and highlighted.5
  • Tours of the papermaking process are available as well as extended stay workshops.5

Curtin Spring papermaking and stay workshops

Curtin Springs facebook

 Curtin Springs Paper - Ashley and Lyndee Severin (2) (3)_edited-1Pic Lyndee Severin.
Ashley and Lyndee Severin – papermaking.

Curtin Springs Paper - Old Abattoir  (2) (2)Pic Lyndee Severin.
The Curtin Springs abattoir.

 Curtin Springs PaperSource L. Severin. Paper products available for sale at the Curtin Springs papermaking facility.

Sources

  1. ‘A rotton waste’ Alice On line. 09.11.2011
  2. ‘Curtain Springs nets Tourism grant’ Nth QLD register. 17.09.2014
  3. Pastoral land board application. July 2014
  4. ‘An old abattoir to be used for making Spinifx paper’ ABC Rural. 30.04.14
  5. Personal Communication. Lyndee Severin 12/14/2014
  6. ‘Red dust rising – The Story of Ray Fryer of Urapunga’ Marion Houldsworth

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