Bourke.1. #241. NSW

Bourke abattoir is a historical export abattoir now closed, Initially built by the Tancred Brothers in 1940 it continued to process stock for many years. Finally deregistering after 1997 and closing permanently

Other Names

  • Operating business name – Bourke Abattoir1.
  • Common name used

Current Operation

  • Facility is currently closed.
  • Aus meat accreditation Number 241
  • Operator website links
    • Contact for employment
    • Contact for sales.


  • Description of physical location in relation to main town and state
    • distance to main urban areas or export sites of that state

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Other abattoirs in Australia

Go to this link to view Location of Australian Abattoirs



  • Tancred Brothers
  • Siteburn P/L






  • Tancred Brothers open Bourke abattoir1
    • Facility was built from winnings of a racehorse called ‘High Caste’ (Pg 289)1


  • Bourke abattoir is expanded1
  • Tancred Brothers begin work on an abattoir at1 Tenterfield. NSW

Insert picture – World on a plate Pg 290


  • With the outbreak of War – WWII1
    • Bourke is killing thousands of sheep for the services1
      • Exported to United Kingdom1
    • Carcases are telescoped1
      • Shipping space was a premium so legs were cut off the carcases and put into the trunk of the lamb1.
  • Dehydration plant was installed to assist with urgent need to keep food up to the troops1
  • Mobs of cattle, 600-700 head were often walked from QLD to Bourke to be processed1
    • Swam the Darling river if it required1
  • Significant shortage of workers forced skilled labour to be imported from Medina, Italy1
    • Contracted immigrants for 2 years1.
      • Many remained as permanent residents1

Late 1940’s

  • Owen Tancred runs the Abattoir (Pg 290)1


  • Emergence of US market presented major opportunity to build a new innovative abattoir to process cattle. This facility was Beaudesert #525 QLD1.


  • Australian cattle herd had is 33M head1


  • Tancred’s have established themselves as major players in the Australian Beef industry1
    • Was a major private land holder under the name of Australasian grazing company1.
    • Tancreds plants were now processing 450,000 head of livestock a year1
  • Tancred’s now operate plants1
    • Cape River. QLD
    • Harden. NSW
    • Mt Isa (NSW) – think is error.
    • Shepparton Vic.
    • Oxley QLD, this facility included a cannery
  • Tancred’s had been a major growth company from 1975 to 19801
    • With earnings per share of 88% per annum1


  • Australian cattle herd is 22M1
    • Fallen from 33M in 19751
  • Tancred’s own assets worth over $100M1
    • Annual turnover of $300M1
  • Tancred’s control up to 10% of Australian meat production1
    • Most of growth had been financed on loans in US dollars as foreign exchange loans1
    • Bank wouldn’t allow Tancred’s to trade out of debt and called in the loans1
    • Enforced liquidation that involved the sale of nearly all Tancred’s land assets1
  • Trading of processing at the time was extremely difficult1
    • Industry needed to be more efficient1
    • Still adjusting to the post – 1979 Oil crisis1


  • Tancred’s became part of Australian Meat Holdings (AMH)1
    • Joint venture between Metro Meat, Smorgon, Elders/FJ Walkers, Thomas Borthwick and Tancred’s1



  1. ‘World on a plate. A history of meat processing in Australia’ Stephen Martyn
  2. Ausmeat Accreditation list – Date

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