Category Archives: Gunnedah

NSW abattoir list A – Z.

This list is only of those facilities currently on this blog.

For sites in other parts of Australia, go to Australian Abattoir Locations


Aberdeen abattoir. Closed. Last owned by AMH

Bega. Current operation unknown

Blayney abattoir. Closed Last owned by ANZCO

Bourke (Proposed) Goat


Casino abattoir. Currently operating

Collarenbri. Proposed goat abattoir

Coonabarabran abattoir. Closed

Coonamble abattoir


Cowra abattoir. Currently operating


Deniliquin abattoir. Current operation unknown

Dubbo abattoir. Currently operational. The largest sheepmeat processing facility in Australia.

Duringula abattoir

Forbes abattoir (NSW)

Goulburn abattoir




Guyra abattoir

Harden abattoir. Closed in 2006.

Inverell. Better known as Bindaree Beef. Currently in operation.


Oberon abattoir


Aberdeen abattoir

Now closed, located in north east NSW, was last owned by AMH.
Historically a very old facility – originally began in 1891. Most recently upgraded in 1996, closed 1999,


Opened in 2004 as a small species abattoir processing rabbits and poultry, located south of Canberra in NSW. Had operating cost issues in 2013, closure threatened.

Blayney abattoir

Located in southeast NSW. Began operations as a freezing works in 1900, became insolvent in 1996, then purchased by ANZCO, with debts still owing to unsecured creditors of $6M. Closed in 1998. AMIEU citing economic reasons rather than stock shortages as the main cause of closure.

Bourke (Proposed) Goat

2008 local council proposed establishment of a goat abattoir to process 1,500 goats a day.

Camperdown abattoir

Located only 8km Sydney, closed 1991 following violent industrial disputes.

Casino abattoir

Currently operating in 2014. The only Australian farmer co-operative abattoir of its kind. Specialised Wagyu plant that has two operating floors for different size slaughter animals.

Collarenebri (Proposed) Goat

Formally a failed emu and ostrich abattoir a proposal was put forward in 2008 to develop the site to process 750 goats a day for 8 months of the year.

Coonabarbran abattoir

Located 600km north west of Sydney. Was the only abattoir in the region that did service kill of 3 species, cattle, lamb and pigs. Had environmental pollution problems in 2008 which attracted legal action and fines. Closed in 2012 citing costs of fines from 2008 issues.

Coonamble abattoir

Closed in 2001 due to government GST and regulation costs, is currently being upgraded for reopening in 2014

Cootamundra abattoir

Cowra abattoir

Located 250km west of Sydney the abattoir has been through closures but is currently operating.
Commenced operations in 1970, pay disputes in 2006, administrator appointed in same year. While insolvent owner conducted illegal activity by transfer of deed to another company and allocating 1st mortgage status to it and not the bank, with employee entitlements last and unable to be paid. Administrators sold facility in 2007, it underwent significant upgrades in 2012 with CCTV installed.

Culcairn abattoir

Deniliquin abattoir

Deniliquin had a freezing works in the late 1800’s. The current abattoir was built at a different site and was operating prior to 1990. It opened and closed a number of times. Recently being sold the facility has undergone upgrades with intentions of being opened in 2013

Dubbo abattoir

Largest sheep meat processor in Australia currently in operation. A new plant built in 1988 which was the first to have a processing chain that was a hot boning system for mutton. When developed the employment was shift based and not tally as other abattoirs at the time. Did have a wool processing facility that is now closed. Production has been affected by supply of animals, high Australian dollar, sheep prices and reduction of the Australian sheep herd. It proposed in 2010 to merge 2 shifts for one as a 10 hour work day, unions resisted.


Located mid north east NSW, currently closed. Local government considering injecting funds for refurbishment of the facility.

Forbes abattoir

Located southwest NSW, built in the 1950’s, owned and operated by Japanese 1988 to 2003. Plant required significant capital upgrades which the owners were not prepared to do and it closed in 2003. Talk of reopening in 2013.

Goulburn abattoir

Located 200km southwest of Sydney and north of Canberra. Has faced major shortage of animal supply issues in the past due to drought and decreased national sheep herd. Recently increased costs of water affected operations

Grafton abattoir

Gundagai abattoir

Gunnedah abattoir

Guyra abattoir

Was operating prior to 1960 as a government owned facility, closed to be reopened by the council as a service kill facility. Racking up substantial debts of $6M these were waived at sale in 1985 to be reopened then closed again in 1993. AMH purchased around this time and entered into a partnership with DR Johnston to operate. Involved in significant industrial disputes the plant was regarded as marginal it was closed permanently in 1996. Currently being considered for development of the site as a rabbit farm

Harden abattoir

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

Inverell abattoir

Located in northern NSW, a privately owned abattoir more commonly known as Bindaree Beef. Recently received $23M government grant for a biogas project. Negotiations in 2014 with union regarding EBA have stalled, workers have had a number of stop works in recent months over pay disagreements.

Lismore abattoir

Oberon abattoir

Located 200km east of Sydney, Privately owned facility that was shut for a period due to a business deal. Re-opened in 2014 targeting Asian market preferences in Sydney.


Located north east of Wagga Wagga. Originally Gunnedah was a service abattoir owned and operated by the local council. It increasingly developed serious debt problems and received a number of assistance packages from Federal and state government to maintain operations. Sold to private enterprise in 1996 it only operated a very short time before permanently closing in 1997.

Other Names

Current Operation

  • Closed 1997.3


  • Gunnedah is located in northern NSW, approximately 550 km north of Sydney


Gunnedah 2

Hema Maps – Australia Truckies atlas.


  • Gunnedah Shire abattoirs1
    • Manager Ray Grout1
  • Edmonds Meat Exports3 (1996 – 1997
    • Manager Peter Spackman3


  • Export abattoir1



  • Gunnedah abattoir established.4
    • One of four strategic local government abattoirs4
    • Set up by state government to boost local employment and offer processors and producers their own regional selling centre.4
    • Gunnedah was the most successful and once described as the shining light of the meat processing industry4
    • At its peak the abattoir through service operators had 600 employees.4


  • One of Australia’s biggest export abattoirs1
  • April. Ray Grout gave notice of resignation, council accepted but then Ray Grout wanted his job back and it was refused.1
    • Ray Grout won the right for reinstatement as Gunnedah abattoir manager then changed his mind1
      • claimed $100,000 damages.1


  • April. Facility had soaked up $1.8M in council support since 19932
  • Currently employs 200 people2
  • Fallen on hard times8
    • partly due to effects of extended drought in northern NSW8
    • abattoirs lack of meat industry experience8
  • Delivers $150M into the regional economy each year.2
  • Report conducted by Price Waterhouse findings2; to determine the role the abattoir played in the regional economy and to see if there was any hope of returning it to profitability8
    • Recommended abattoir be corporatised and assets transferred to a seperate legal entity8
    • Independent board with meat industry experience8
    • abattoir to be sold at any reasonable offer or closed if the business remains unviable and sale is unlikely within 2 years8
    • package of state and Federal government assistance8
    • Acknowledged plant was uncompetitive2
        • but could be salvaged under new management if it corporatised for preparation for sale within 2 years.2
        • Federal government received  $1.25M in quarantine service fees and $2.5M PAYE each year2
  • State and Federal government deal to prop-up facilities operations.2
    • $2.1M. in total2
      • $1.1M. exemption from payroll tax and stamp duty2
      • $1M. Quarantine and hygiene inspection costs pickup up by Commonwealth.2
      • Gunnedah was the most strategically placed in eastern Australia2
      • Gunnedah was one of only 5 abattoirs licensed to export to the 5 key export regions2
  • Describing the problems at the abattoir2 as an
    • “example of everything that is wrong in Australia’s meat industry” – John Carter, Former head of NSW Meat industry authority.2
    • “The situation at the Gunnedah works is indicative of the endemic problems that seriously threaten the competitiveness of Australia’s second largest export industry” – John Carter.2
    • Last week Australia utilised just 69% of its killing capacity compared to the US, which was working at 200% by doubling its shifts – and we wonder why we are failing to compete” – John Carter.2
    • 200 abbatoirs must be cut to around 50 if we are to be competitive” John Carter2
  • May. $1M assistance package is put in place.6
    • $1M over a 2 year period by state8
    • Federal government gave some concessions on quarantine and inspection services8
      • Council implement recommendations of Price-Waterhouse report – included appointing a new board.6
        • Greg Upton – Grazier and Chairman of North west electricity6
        • Jason Strong – Chairman of the Cattleman’s union and National livestock marketing board.6
        • Authors Note – Not sure if this is the same man. Jason Strong appointed Chief Executive of Australian Agricultural Company in 20145
      • 4 companies have approached council about establishing operations in Gunnedah6
        • included on of the worlds largest corporations.6
  • Up to half of NSW 56 abattoirs could close with the loss of up to 5,000 jobs7

    Authors Note – Majority of live export cattle during this period would have been Bos Indicus or crosses to South East Asia markets, sourced from mainly northern Australia. Not animals suited to heavy slaughter in Australia and from herds whos’ production was not likely destined for abattoirs in NSW.

    • LE exports 1990_1998_edited-2Source – Live Cattle Exports. Australian Commodities Vol 5 #2 June 1998

     Chart showing the high volume of South East Asia live cattle export destinations period 1990 – 1998

  • State government concessions designed to prop up the ailing Gunnedah abattoir were hastening their demise.7
    • forced other abattoirs to compete with inefficent works being handed unfair trading advantage7

    December. Abattoir sold to Edmonds Meat Exports.3



  • April. Plant offically reopened.8
    • Record kill levels 30% above council management8
    • Hope new abattoir will expand into sheep, pigs with a view to new exports in Europe8
  • Other retailers have set up in Gunnedah – McDonalds.8
  • Turkish investor is interested in Gunnedah tannery for purchase and expansion8
  • Abattoir now has $10M debt.8
  • 370 workers put off3
    • mostly casual staff3
    • Not sacked , when market improves would endeavour to re-employ3
  • Plant was paying more for cattle but getting less for product  when it was sold overseas3
  • Companies decision was inevitable and would have come even if the meatworks was not privatised3
    • had been expected for a while due to conditions in the industry3


  1. ‘Legal dispute over dismissal or resignation’ Sydney morning herald. 23.11.1994
  2. ‘Call to Scrap $2.1M abattoir rescue plan’ Sydney morning herald. 08.04.1996
  3. ‘Abattoir shutdown a jolt for Gunnedah’ Sydney morning herald 14.10.1997
  4. ‘A giant in the life of Gunnedah – 100 years since O’Keefe born’ Namoi Valley Independent 23.10.2012
  5. ‘Strong happy to shoulder the load’ Stock and Land 24.04.2014
  6. ‘Gunnedah shire abattoir’ Parliamentary Hansard, 14.05.1996
  7. ‘5,000 jobs at risk: Abattoirs facing closure’ Sydney morning herald. 21.05.1996
  8. ‘Gunnedah shire abattoir’ Parlimentary hansard 17.04.1997
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