Rockhampton – Lakes Creek

There is a historical Lakes Creek abattoir and the current facility that Teys operate at Rockhampton. It is not clear if the two sites are the same location or one was dismantled and another built.

Other Names

  • Rockhampton abattoir – there is another facility in Rockhampton operated by JBS, Rockhampton (QLD – JBS)
  • Lakes Creek abattoir

Current Operation

  • Aus Meat Accreditation registration dated 29/12/2015 #7 – Teys Australia Meat Group Pty Ltd.45
    • registered as a Beef, Offal export facility.45
  • Direct employment enquiries to Teys Employment Information

Location   Owner

Teys Logo_edited-1Source the Teys-Cargill Australia Logo


  • Teys operate 3 feedlots12
    • Jindalee (NSW)12
    • Condamine (QLD)12
    • Charlton (Vic)12
  • Hide Processing Facility in Murgon12
  • Value adding facilities12
    • Hemmant – Produces cooked deli smallgoods and convenience meals12
    • Wagga Wagga – produces case ready goods for retail12

For employment information go to  Teys Employment Information

Other historical and current meat processing facilities located in Australia can be viewed at;

Australian abattoirs inactive map



History of Rockhampton – Lakes Creek #7


  • The Lakes Creek abattoir was built.(Pg 261)15
    • Owned by an English company – Central Queensland Meat Export Company15
  • Operated as a cannery35
  • The plant was a dominent element in the regions economy40
    • at this time Lakes Creek was a company town40
    • meatworks built housing for its employees40


  • Lakes Creek processes three quarters of all the sheep processed by Queensland canneries (Pg 39)35
  • Facility was heavily in debt due to mainly expenses associated with the Jone patent process (Pg 39)35
    • authors note – I have not found what this patent was but assume it was to do with the technology and process of canning meat.


  • April. company was bankrupt35
  • Enforced closure of the facility due to the high price of cattle. (Pg 261)15
    • Remained idle until 187715


  • Facility was purchased by liquidators of Whitehead & Co. (Pg 261)15
    • Proposal was to move boiling downs works that Whitehead’s owned from Laurel Bank to Lakes Creek.15
    • Whitehead & Co also owned a meatworks at Ramornie (NSW, near Grafton)15
    • Whitehead & Co had a contract to supply 2M lb of preserved meats to the French Government but had been unable to obtain sufficent cattle in NSW to fill the contract15


  • Whitehead & co went into liquidation (Pg 261)15
    • closure was stated as not being the fault of the Lakes Creek operation itself15
  • A second Central QLD Meat Export Co. was formed and reopened the works (Pg 261)15


  • A freezing plant was added (Pg 261)15
  • September this year the chambers were full of frozen meat for the pioneering enterprise of exporting frozen product on the Fiado. The Ship was late and a fire went through the facility15
    • Opportunity had been robbed of Lakes Creek the honour of sending the first consignment to Britian15
      • In 1884 the first cargo of frozen meat was loaded from Bowen but a cyclone stranded the vessel, destroyed the product and the Bowen works.(Pg 262)15
      • The first frozen consignments from Australia didn’t occur until 1896.15
    • 200 employees were out of work15


  • Works resumed operations (Pg 261)15


  • Company went into liquidation (Pg 261)15
    • Due mainly to the expense of rebuilding and installing imported plant equipment15


  • Melbourne Syndicate took the facility over (Pg 261)15
    • Andrew Rowan, George Fairbairn and John Living15


  • Facility was purchased by a company formed in London (Pg 261)15


  • Tinned beef was a staple ration for war soldiers in WWI40
    • accompanied by hard tack biscuits40
    • Bully Beef – corruption of the French name “bouilli” meaning boiled or corned, referenced to small hard grains of salt used to preserve the meat40
  • Rockhampton produced various tinned labels – Herford, Devon (not the  pork based luncheon meat of that name) and Hamper40
    • including frozen sides meat for export and domestic butcher shops40
  • All parts of the animal were used40
    • what was not edible was processed into fertiliser and by-products40


  • Major flood year


  • Facility was idle due to the strain of the post war depression (Pg 261)15
    • meat market was very dull15
  • Facility then went to a syndicate headed by Sir William Angliss and FJ Walker (Pg 261)15
    • Operated under their control until 193415


  • Vesteys, British based but international organisation purchased Lakes Creek. (Pg 261)15
  • Facility began to prosper due to the Empire preference granted under the Ottawa Agreement (pg 261)15
    • The Imperial Preference was a series of bilateral agreements of limited tarriffs within the British Empire but higher on goods from the rest of the world. Principal was based on “home producers first, empire producers second, and foreign producers last”16
  • Improved plant, chilling, freezing and processing facilities were established over the coming years.(Pg 261)15
  • By products were saved and processed(Pg 261)15


  • Lakes Creek is paying 4/ per 100lb14
    • authors note – I think the / is shillings.
  • Northern Graziers are complaining of the high costs of freight and low price that Townsville abattoir is paying.14
    • They call for a public abattoir to be established and operated by the government in Townsville.1
      • To operated under the Abattoirs Bill that allowed government to acquire operate the Canon Hill facilities in Brisbane, enacted in 1934 (Pg 264)16


  • Teys formed as a partnership of 4 brothers to process meat for wholesaling and retailing13


  • Queensland herd was deminished due to demands of Australia feeding Allied forces in WWII40
  • Plans were being pushed to develope the channel country in the west and increase QLD’s beef-raising capacity40


  • Canned meat, known as bully beef, tinned corn meat was being boxed and sealed on hands-on assembly lines40
    • refer Year 1910 for more info.

packing tinned meats._edited-1Source ‘Bully for our Beef exports’ The Courier Mail 17.07.2011 Workers packing corned beef into cartons at Lakes Creek meatworks


  • February 3. Season commenced38
    • Ended December 1738
    • Flooding Between February 11 to 22 of Fitzroy river system38
    • Killing season 1954 constituted a record38
    • “Meat supplies were maintained but killing took place in the abattoir surrounded by water to a depth of 2 feet”41
  • Facility was undergoing extensive alterations and improvements to beef killing floor38
    • When completed the killing floor would be one of the most modern in Australia38
    • Handle greater throughput38
    • OH & S issues improved38
  • Pigs killed at the facility had also increased on 1953.38
  • Queensland cattle herds had recovered from dry conditions during most of 1951.38
    • Channel Country was underutilised due to lack of quick and commercial transport for cattle38
    • Cattle were grown out to large framed animals to withstand long walking distances38
      • These animals were not the preferred types for killing38
      • UL introduced – Baby Beef grade38
        • significantly effected  producers to turn off younger animals with lighter frame38


  • Daily processing capacity 987 head of cattle. (Pg 261)15


  • Major flood year


  • Employed 1,350 people18
  • Currently the second largest abattoir in Australia18
  • December. CMG lock out workers to force them to accept wage cuts, a six day production schedule and unlimited overtime22
    • Meat workers were forced back to work under a federal award that was $320 in wage cut for some workers22


  • January. Management refused to open works18
  • March 2. Protesters march through the CBD of Rockhampton in support of the 1350 workers who lost their jobs when the plant closed in mid January.24
    • AMIEU called for mass protest24
      • AMIEU demanding re-opening and reinstatement of the workers without massive cuts to pay and conditions.24
      • supported by the Construction, Mining & Energy , Forestry & Manufacturing workers  unions24
  • April. Lakes Creek abattoir is locked into a bitter dispute over pay and conditions between the now owner Consolidated Meat Group (Kerry Packer) and the Australasian Meat Industry Employees’ Association.17
  • Facility will not be re-opening as early as planned17
  • May. Facility reopened but cut the workforce back to 70018
  • June. Plant was planned to be shut down entirely18
  • July 11. Workers begin a 5 day strike and re-establish a picket line outside the plant22
    • Strike is about production levels in the boning room and is part of a ongoing dispute of conditions of new work agreement22
  • July 30. Facility is offically closed.25
  • August. Negotiation had been occuring for an Enterprise bargain agreement for the last 8 months18
  • Consolidated Meat had come to agreement on Terms with Teys $1.2B joint venture to operate, Naracoote (SA), Beenleigh, Biloela and Innisfail (QLD)18
    • Deal to take effect in October18
    • Company had promised full severence pay but it would be at the lowest agreed rates18
    • Consolidated Meat had been awarded with $20M US Beef Quotas18
    • Governments Scheme based on 2001 rates, 40,000t known as the “Packer clause”18
      • Lakes Creek only produced 3,000t since June 200218
      • 2001 they had produced 49,000t18
      • quota flows into the merger entity18
      • Consolidated Meat will receive same quota in 2003 even though plant would be close.18
  • Abattoir is closed at this point in time 20/08/200219
    • It did open for short periods but had ongoing industrial disputes with protected industrial action begin taken19
    • Variety of owners of Lakes Creek plant had been unprofitable over the last decade19
  • ACCC investigate if merger of CMG and Teys would lead to reduced competition in terms of prices for cattle20
    • ACCC decide not to interven in proposed merger20
  • November. Jim Downey is appointed general manager at the plant21
    • Had been plant manager at Biloela21
    • Plant was still closed but undergoing major installations21
  • Drought was the single biggest factor now determining Lakes Creek operation21


  • July. After nearly 2 years of being closed Lakes Creek re-opens25
    • 160 workers will start when the first kill takes place25
    • boning room will then begin employee numbers to be more than 300 in total25
      • Intention is to start with small production, settle the plant and make sure problems can be solved23
      • $1M in pay cheques will be injected into the community each month from the start up.23
    • Facility will gradually build towards a kill capacity of 2,500 head and employ 1,000 people.25
  • 6 weeks prior to opening Teys had been finalising plans to re-open and purchasing stock25
  • Profit margins for the processing sector currently as high as $150 a head25
    • Fallen due to a stronger Aussie dollar and the falling price of Japanese full sets.25
  • Originally the plant had been planned to open later in the year but successful negotiations with the AMIEU helped to bring the opening forward to July25
  • Re-opening was said not to be influenced by the risk of losing US export licences25
  • Lakes Creek had applied and received $660,000 – Under Regional Partnership grant.26
    • Assisted the facility to go back into business26
    • Funds were used to upgrade computer system and plumbing26
    • 2 other meatworks in the region, and operating didn’t receive the grant26
    • Labor criticised the Government for providing taxpayers money to a commercial venture that could give an unfair advantage26


  • A shortage of skilled workers in Australia forces the company to look overseas29
    • People had been lost to the meatworks who have gone to the mining industry29
    • 60 vietnamese begin working at Lakes Creek29
    • Joining the 97 Brazilians already there29


  • CMG implemented industry award27
    • Required to cut it’s 1,300 workers wages by 30% to remain competitive in the tightening beef export market27
    • CMG attempted to draw up new rosters that included27
      • night time and Saturday shifts without penalty rates27
        • Exceeded 38 hour cap27
    • Union workers voted against the new proposal and would only return to work on genuine award conditions.27


  • December. Facility is considering job cuts over the next few weeks42
  • General Manager – Wasantha Mudannayake42
    • Reason for need to reduce jobs was livestock numbers had dropped due to overseas exports42
  • Biloela abattoir (QLD) – also owned and operated by Teys announced cutting of 40 foreign workers jobs42


  • February.Tom Macquire – General Manager of corporate affairs for Teys Bros28
  • Lakes reopened after being closed for a short period following heavy rain.28
  • Currently employing 760 people28
  • Between April 2010 to February 2012 – Teys Employ 480 humanitarian refugees29
    • “Without humanitarian and skilled migrants Teys would find it very hard to continue production at sustainable levels at some sites, particularly in Rockhampton and Biloela”29
  • Since 1982 approximately 31 abattoirs have closed across Queensland30
    • Slaughter capacity had increased by 50%30
    • QLD meat processors forefront in adopting improved practices and technologies30
  • Last 2-3 years30
    • competition has come from restockers and live cattle exporters30
    • Lower export beef prices as a result of higher Australian dollar30
    • Export abattoirs have reduced throughput and cut shifts and the number of killing days.30
  • Major flood year


  • July. Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) don’t oppose Teys Bros & Cargill Beef Australia Merger42
    • View that the proposed merger would be unlikely to substantially lesson competition in any of the markets examined42
      • ‘fat’ cattle ready for slaughter42
      • acquisition of ‘feeder’ cattle destined for feedlots42
      • supply of processed beef to retailers and wholesalers42
  • Teys CEO – Brad Teys – says been 30 years since he’s seen cattle supply so tight44
    • Producer’s aren’t selling cattle44
      • due to poor prices44
        • forced the company to reduce kill days44
      • Rocky is working on 3 days a week kill44
  • September. Teys forms partnership with Cargill37
  • Federal Government Carbon tax legislation36
    • Creates a 2 tier system with those who generate more than 25,000 t of carbon each year to pay more36
      • Basic  costs would be $4 per head for all facilities36
    • Lakes Creek exceeds 25,000 threshold – would be liable to pay higher permit costs36
      • extra $2 head, adding up to extra $7M across Teys/Cargil enterprise.36
    • Abattoirs are energy-intensive business, Trade exposed, with export constituting majority of total production, narrow profit margins36
      • Carbon tax would disadvantage Australian facilities36
    • Government indicated there would be assistance for to introduce measures to reduce emissions to assit processors36


  • Between April 2010 to February 2012 – Teys Employed 480 humanitarian refugees29
    • By February 306 were still actively employed29
  • December. AMIEU was investigating reports of working conditions of 100 workers who were part of the humanitarian program29


  • March. Lakes Creek facility receives a grant from the Federal Government $4.17 for operational upgrades.31
    • Governments Clean Technology Food and Foundaries Investment Program31
    • Will assist Teys to improve competitiveness, local economy and environment.31
  • Upgrades begin of the waste water treatment plant39
    • involve building a new waste water treatment lagoons and installing a biogas boiler and handling equipment39
    • Methane emitted during the waste water treatment will be used to generate steam used at the facility39
    • reduce the facilities coal consumption by 30%39
    • Upgrade set to be completed by June 201539
    • Cost $16M39
  • Lakes Creek facility receives the Ministers Enterprise Award as part of the QLD state government’s annual Multicultural Awards for cultutal diversity10
    • Award recognises work and and volunteering efforts that develop strong, culturally diverse communities and promote awareness of the benefits of the cultural diversity in the state.10
  • Teys employed 4,500 across Australia10
    • Simply not enough local workers to operate the plants10
    • International workers were needed to fill the spaces10
  • In Rockhampton the mining boom left plants wth an employment shortfall10
    • Lakes Creek employs more than 1,000 people of 29 different nationalities10
    • Employ a significant number of humanitarian refugees and supports induction and training practices that assist new workers10
    • partnerships with settlement service providers and other groups in the community to employ and assist the workers.10


  • June. Teys lobby government to repeal the Carbon tax11 Teys Media Release to repeal carbon tax
    • Manufacturers are closing down across the country due to unnecessary costs and charges on business” Tom Maguire Teys general manager of corporate affairs.11
    • countries Australia competes against do not have the burden of the carbon tax11
    • there is a direct link between the Carbon tax and competitiveness in the market place11
  • July. Rockhampton meatworks in the area employ more than 2,000 people1
    • Added more than $600M into the community1
  • Teys don’t support establishment of a live cattle export port at Port Alma (Rockhampton)1
  • Would be better for politicians to look at transport costs within Australia1.
    • currently costs $14M a year to rail product from Rockhampton and Biloela to the Port of Brisbane1
    • Development of a port at Rockhampton and Gladstone for shipment of containers would be better.1

unions 2012_edited-2Source The Bulletin. 01.12.2012

The Lakes Creek abattoir, Rockhampton. Queensland


  • Teys is inducted into QLD business leaders hall of fame.32
  • Teys currently process 32,000 cattle per week across Australia32
    • Generates a turnover of $2.5B annually32


  • February. Newly elected QLD Agriculture Minister – Bill Byrne said he “supported the live cattle trade under appropriate circumstances, but it would likely threaten the viability of the processors and value-adding of the local meat processing industry2
  • Cyclone Marcia hits Rockhampton 20/02/2015.3
    • 47,000 homes with no electricity3
    • Damage to buildings, bridges, destruction of crops and fencing.3
    • Flood levels were already high in Callide Valley and exacerbated by release of water from Callide Dam3
  • Lakes Creek abattoir suffers some minor damage to the roofing of the head office building3
  • Facility closed and wouldn’t likely operate for the rest of that week3
    • Plant and Equipment are OK3
    • most significant impact is no power, sewerage and water3
    • Until those services are restored the plant can’t operate3
    • Temporary amenities facilities had to be installed because of damage to existing ones9
  • Chilled and Frozen product was being maintained by generators3
  • Number of animals at the facility were getting water and fodder to ensure their welfare3
  • No kill occured on the day of the cyclone 20/02/2015 and wouldn’t for the rest of that week.4
  • Any cattle that were meant to be processed at Lakes Creek that week would be diverted to Biloela or Beenleigh.4
  • Cattle that had been at the plant at the time of the cyclone were returned to some producers at Teys cost5
    • Half were moved to other plants5
    • If the animals were stressed they would have lost weight and cut darker therefore Teys paid  a flat rate to the producers5
    • Temperatures climbed to 38 degrees with high humidity following the cyclone and some cattle suffered heat stress5
    • Heat stressed animals were not transported to care for their welfare5
  • Teys anticipate they would not be in the market for cattle all that week for Lakes Creek or Biloela4
  • Combination of their buying power not present in markets for the 3 abattoirs affected by the cyclone – Lakes Creek, Biloela and Rockhampton (JBS) accounted for 2,000 head per day4
  • Teys advise the plant will be closed longer than anticipated5
    • Many of the employees at the plant were overseas workers and not entitled to any government support5
    • Asbestos in exposed building material had slowed repairs at the site7
      • Asbestos was commonly used in older facilities7
      • Specialised workers wore plastic suits in 40 degree heat9
  • Facility likely to open 09/03/2015.6
  • Longreach cattle market sales had been cancelled due to the disruptions at the meatworks6
  • Markets still strong but there was congestion of cattle in the market6
  • QLD’s kill retracted to 75,275 head, down 7% as a direct consequence of the first weeks closure8
  • Where possible Teys was making forward payments to producers for cattle held up by the event9
  • Teys to restart the kill floor 18/03/2015 killing 1,000 head to increase to 1,6009

Brands_edited-1Source Product brand that are produced by Teys.

Sources Rockhampton – Lakes Creek #7

  1. ‘We’re not against live export but….’ QLD Country Life 17.07.2014
  2. ‘MP wary of live cattle trade at meatworks’ expense’ The Bulletin 21.02.2015
  3. ‘Disaster declaration expected today as Cyclone Marcia farm damage bill grows’ ABC Rural 24.02.2015
  4. ‘Power outages, structural damage from cyclone knock-out CQ plants’ Beef Central 23.02.2015
  5. ‘Asbestos closes JBS plant indefinitely’ 26.02.2015
  6. ‘Central QLD abattoirs closed for second week following Cyclone Marcia’ ABC Rural 27.02.2015
  7. ‘Rockhampton processing delays longer than expected, in wake of Cyclone Marcia’ Beef Central 27.02.2015
  8. ‘Weekly Kill: Cyclone impact reflected in lower tally’ Beef Central 03.03.2015
  9. ‘First Rocky Plant back to work Tomorrow’ Beef Central 17.03.2015
  10. ‘Lakes Creek plant earns QLD multi-cultural award’ Beef Central 13.09.2013
  11. ‘Meat Processor calls on new seante to stop games and repeal carbon tax’ Teys Media Release 03.06.2014
  12. Teys Website-facilities
  14. ‘Public Abattoir Needed’ Courier-Mail 27.08.1938
  15. ‘Triumph in the Tropics’ 1959 Queensland Government
  16. Empire preference Ottawa Agreement
  17. ‘Lakes Creek abattoir re-opening plans delayed’ 25.04.2002
  18. ‘Government rewards Packer for meatworks closure’ the Guardian 07.08.2002
  19. Parliament Hansard – Meat Industry Consultive structure and quota allocation 20.08.2002
  20. ACCC – Consolidated Meat Group and Teys Bros merger proposal
  21. ‘Drought biggest driver of Lakes Creek Opening’ QLD CL 14.11.2002
  22. ‘Lakes Creek Workers continue dispute’ 13.07.2002
  23. ‘Lakes Creek abattoir to reopen’ ABC rural 13.07.2004
  24. ‘Thousands march to support meatworkers’ Green left 13.03.2002
  25. ‘Lakes Creek reopens Monday’ QLD CL 15.07.2004
  26. ‘Packer Firm given grant for abattoir’ SMH 19.02.2005
  27. ‘Union Avoidance Strategies in the meat processing/packing industry in Australia and the USA compared’ Jerrard, O’Leary
  28. ‘Lakes Creek has few lifelines’ the Bulletin 11.02.2010
  29. ‘Union investigates raw deal for refugees at abattoir’ The Bulletin 01.12.2012
  30. QLD Beef Industry Beef situation analysis 2010
  31. ‘Meatworks gets Federal Government grant’ Daily Mercury 05.03.2013
  32. 2014 Inductee – QLD business Leaders Hall of Fame
  33. History
  34. Great Barrier Reef – Environmental History, Ben Daley
  35. ‘To Feed a Nation – A history of Australian food science and technology ‘ Kieth Farrer. 2005
  36. ‘Carbon tax could cost $19M year for big three processors’ Brahman News. 2011
  37. ”Cargill & Teys merger good for the beef industry’ Meat Trade Daily. 22.05.2011
  38. ‘Lakes Creek meatworks had record year’ CQ Herald 06.01.1955
  39. ‘Methane for power at Teys Australia Lakes Creek meatworks’ The Bulletin 19.03.2014
  40. ‘Bully for our beef exports’ Courier Mail 17.07.2011
  41. AMIC Prime Cuts Newsletter 11.01.2011
  42. ‘Meatworks jobs may get the chop’ The Morning Bulletin 11.12.2009
  43. ACCC will not oppose Teys Bros & Cargill Beef Australia proposed merger
  44. ‘Cattle supply chokes’ ABC Rural 14.07.2011
  45. AUS-MEAT Accreditation Listing 29.12.2015


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