Category Archives: Northern Territory

McArthur River

Other Names

Current Operation


Hema Maps – Australia Truckies atlas.


  • Doug Howenstine (American) (pg 7)1
    • Managed by an Australian Jim McIntyre1




  • Animal health position inspected district from Boorroloola district, included McArthur river – position taken up by Terry Crowson.(Pg 7)1.


  1. ‘The privileged few’ Jeff Hill.2008


Other Names

Current Operation


Hema Maps – Australia Truckies atlas.


  • Bill and Brian Crowson1




  • Small abattoir built approximately 1 mile from homestead(Pg 26)1
  • Only operational for a year due to several reasons1
    • Health department requirements of cartage and storage of boxes of beef. Dept wouldn’t accept their method of loading the beef into 20′ cold room on a truck and transported 300km to be loaded in to another cold store.(Pg 27)1


abattoir books 011#1. Source. ‘The privileged few’ Jeff Hill. Pg 26
Small meatworks at Montejinni station, built by Bill Crowson in the 1960’s


  • Abattoir had lain idle since 1960’s.(Pg 27)1
  • dismantled to open up space for light aircraft.(pg 27)1
    • Cold room taken to Uralla meats in Katherine – an abattoir Lyn Hayes and Ernie Raynor were establishing between Katherine and Tindal Airbase.(pg 27)1
    • Note I can’t info on this abattoir – though a pet food meat processor named Uralla is mentioned in some articles.


  1. ‘The privileged few’ Jeff Hill. 2008

Vanderlin Island (Proposed 1934)

Vanderlin Island is located approximately 50km off the south west coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria at the point of the MacArthur River mouth. A processing works was proposed as a co-operative of mainly tableland owned properties, with it being exempt from taxes, shipping acts and all government fees. The intention being to process cattle but reintroduce sheep in large numbers across the tableland areas.

Current Operation

  • Proposed in 1934


  • Vanderlin Island is located 50km from the mouth of the MacArthur River on the South west edge of the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Vanderlin Island #1

Vanderlin Island #2


Other Abattoir locations in Australia

Australian Abattoir Locations



  • April. Government considered granting concessions if one or more chartered companies could be formed that would create development in the North of Australia (Pg 123)
  • 9 Tablelanders met – represented 13 stations covering 25,259 sq miles. (Pg 123)
    • proposed a formation of a chartered company to build an abattoir, freezing works and shipping facility on Vanderlin Island.
  • Would require borrowing £1M to be gauranteed by the government (Pg 123)
    • money was to be borrowed on the British money market
  • Chartered company proposed it would have complete control of the area (Pg 123)
    • including all mineral rights
    • free and uncontrolled industrial power” – to prevent a repeat of Vestey’s Bullocky Point (NT)
    • company and its land would be totally exempt from
      • tariffs and taxation
      • all shipping and navigation acts
      • almost all government fees and charges
    • Education, policing, postal services and defence would be supplied by the Commonwealth
  • Engineer – GH Anderson, appointed NT Pastoral Lessees’ Association assistant secretary – appointed to work full time on the proposal (pg 124)
  • Project in its final form would encompass 100,000 sq miles from the Roper River to the QLD border and south to Austral Downs.(Pg 124)
    • Of this area 68,000 was under leasehold, remainder was planned to be developed.
    • Cattlemen participating would provide land, livestock and station improvements
      • Would be shareholders in proportion to their investment
    • Of the £1M borrowed
      • £250,000 fencing and stud stock, including provision of waters to improve herds
      • Balance was for abattoir, water and power supply, accommodation, trucks jetties, barges and roads
    • Initially it was planned to build a railway to Borroloola then across the salt marshes to the coast plus two miles of stone causeways and bridges on Vanderlin Island
      • Prliminary costing of light rail from Anthony’s Lagoon would cost £1.5M
    • Cattle trucking experiments were being done in NSW, use of diesel transport and trailers would be only 23% of the cost of the railway line.
    • From Borroloola the cattle would be transferred to Vanderlin in shallow-draft lighters similar to the picture below.
      • Capacity of 320 head
      • double decker, twin engined, 130′ long, 32′ wide
      • draught was 5’6″
      • maximum speed 7 knots

Bullocky Point 001Source Distance, Drought and Dispossession McLaren & Cooper
A Bovril cattle barge in Argentina that could be used to transfer cattle to Vanderlin Island

  • Construction of the wharf and abattor would take 2 years
  • Plans to commence operations in 1937
    • require 400t of diesel engine oil,  petrol and lubricating oils to be imported each year
    • Called for 20,000 cattle to be processed annually for the first decade
    • 30,000 head annually for the second decade
    • 40,000 head annually for the third decade
    • Processing would occur March to June, until the roads dried out and then the Tableland cattle would be slaughtered until November
  • As profits would be re-invested sheep were to be reintroduced to the Tableland
  • Walhollow station was to be used as a cattle depot
  • Plan was strongly opposed by other producers.
  • The abattoir was to provide a market for aged cows, scrub bulls and culls.
  • Longer term plan included agriculture development of supply of fruit and vegetables to employees and produce tobacco, maize, peanuts and pigs for export
  • Commonwealth expressed willingness to gaurantee loan subject to a detailed feasibility study
    • 17 days investigation identified no insurmountable problems
    • Cost was now estimated at £1.48M
  • Townsville district associations complained the facility would take shipping and general business from the town.
  • Conacher (Vesteys chairman) forsaw a number of problems in relation to labour, supply, freight and supply of fresh water.
  • Treasury didn’t support the proposal, Government were not prepared to back the loan
  • Anderson approached AMP society for backing and other potential lenders – all refused.
  • Anderson approached the German government to provide materials, plant and machinery, in return for credit for puchase of wool
    • Germany to provide preferential tarriffs to Australia to import 30,000t of beef each year for 10 years
      • German government refused they were not interested in the project


  • Government opposition to the proposal had increased
  • Payne Fletcher report into the issues of the NT thought is was feasible that 2.55M sheep could be run in the Northern Territory


  1. ‘Distance, Drought and Dispossession – A history of the Northern Territory pastoral industry’ Glen McLaren and William Cooper. 2001


Yuendumu is located approximately 280km north west of Alice Springs. This post includes a brief overview of aboriginal and european occupation, conflicts and difficulties faced by the people who lived in the area. Yuendumu settlement operated a pastoral activity and attempted to establish a meat processing facility to support the local community.


Current Operation

  • Closed


  • Yuendumu is approximately 300km north west of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory
  • Abattoir facility itself was located about 20km out of the township


Yuendumu. #2


  • NPC1


  • Slaughterhouse was established 1990 to supply meat to local community and income to the cattle operation of NPC.


  • ADC      Aboriginal Development Commission
  • ATSIC   Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission
  • BTEC    Brucelloisis Tuberculosis Eradication Campaign
  • CAAPA  Central Australian Aboriginal Pastoralist Association
  • DAA      Department of Aboriginal Affairs
  • DEET    Department of Employment, Education and Training
  • DEIR     Department of Employment and Industrial relations
  • IAD       Institute for Aboriginal Development
  • NPC       Ngarliyikirlangu Pastoral Company


Pre 1800’s

  • Yuendumu is situated on Ngalia Warlpiri country (Pg 246)
    • Evidence supports that continuous occupation has occured for 10,000 years (Pg 246)
    • Main land owning group is Walpiri (Pg 248)
    • People moved extensively for hunting and gathering, withdrew to core areas of importance at watering points in dry periods and extended over very large areas in better seasons.(Pg 249)
    • Walpiri maintained close relationships with other clans to north, east – Kurinji and Anmatyerre, Pitjantjatjara and Pintubi (Pg 249)
    • Walpiri discriminated against Arrernte tribes.(Pg 249)


  • Warburton expedition crossed the Tanami and came into contact with Warlpiri people (Pg 250)


  • Commencement of pastoral settlement increased contact with aboriginal people (pg 250)


  • Granite goldfields commenced, a series of wells were established between Granites and Hooker Creek (Pg 250)
    • relationships not always cordial with aborigines.(pg 250)


  • Gold reserves had petered out (Pg 250)


  • Pastoral lease uptake increased to the north and far west (Pg 251)
  • Conflict with aborigines increased (Pg 251)


  • Coniston massacre occurs (Pg 251)
    • 28 Warlpiri die as a result of an avenge attack by police and pastoralists in retaliation of the death of a non-aboriginal dingo hunter.(Pg 251)


  • More gold is discovered at the Granites. (Pg 251)
  • Several pastoralists open up mining ventures for wolfram and gemstones.(Pg 251)


  • Reports of Aboriginal peoples state of living in the Tanami region build pressure to establish an Aboriginal reserve in the area.(Pg 251)
  • Reverend of Baptist union wanted resumption of whole of Mt Doreen station lease.
    • lengthy negotiations, interrupted by WWII


  • Yuendumu reserve 2,200 km square was established (though not declared until 1956) (Pg 256)
    • Area was selected  because a bore had established permanent water (Pg 256)
    • land was in immediate vicinity to a bore on unoccupied crown land (Pg 256)
    • Country not particulary suited to cattle (Pg 256)
    • Later 137 sq miles was transferred from reserve to Mt Allan pastoral lease (Pg 252)
  • Yuendumu welfare settlement was established.
    • to settle nomadic Aboriginal groups under the Aboriginal affairs policy of assimilation (Pg 252)
    • to provide social welfare of Aboriginal people, train them in non-aboriginal skills so they may be assimilated into non-Aboriginal society (pg 252)
    • Policy objectives was training and employment for work within and outside the settlement (Pg 252)
    • Also to provide administration, health, education and general development functions
  • Cattle project was included with (pg 252)
    • garden (vegetable growing)
    • piggery
    • poultry
    • Aim to increase self sufficency
    • Cattle enterprise started with 200 head (Pg 254)
  • Initial population 400 people (pg 252)


  • Population now over 1,000 people (pg 253)


  • Rations and cash allowance replaced by Training allowance Scheme (pg 255)
    • Scheme – in lowest form, was less than dole
    • Scheme – in highest level paid less than award wages
    • Settlement residents received free basic health service, education and subsidised meals from communal kitchens
    • Some residents received free rudimentary housing


  • NT Social Welfare Branch annual report state there is (Pg253)
    • well established garden
    • bakery
    • store
    • mining company
    • housing association and a school council


  • Settlement was under administrative control of NT Social Welfare Branch (Pg 253)
    • Superintendent on advice from village council
    • Village council were representative body of all skin groups living in Yuendumu
  • Labour government election announce Aboriginal affairs policy of self-determination (Pg 253)
    • beginning of major structural changes in administration and development
  • Moves made to incorporate the cattle project as a pastoral company (pg 253)
    • Cattle herd now 3,500 head
    • Particularly good grass seasons 1967-1972 (Pg 255)
    • Further growth was limited by lack of reliable water sources
      • at this time only had 2 reliable bores and 1 dam for the entire herd
    • Management had varying degrees of pastoral industry expertise
    • Income from cattle sales was not paid to community but into Consolidated revenue(Pg 254)
      • lack of incentrve to sell cattle, meant very low turnoff of animals (Pg 255)
    • Expenses were paid from cash and rations under Settlements administration therefore not reliant on cattle project (Pg 254)
    • Capital development for all projects  was reliant on annual budget priorities.
      • Funding priorities depended on Canberra / Darwin
    • Cattle project goal was to maximise employment, train men in pastoral skills and provide fresh meat to the community (Pg 255)
  • Department of Aboriginal Affairs (DAA) was primary employer of all people (Pg 267)


  • Crash of beef prices. No cattle turned off during the period 1972-75.(Pg 257)
  • Only killers for kitchen, averaged 2 per week (Pg 258)
  • Seasons had been very good 72/73 – meant herd numbers built rapidly (Pg 258)


  • Privatisation occured of some activities that previously had been under control of the Social Welfare divisions (Pg 130)
  • Bakery, garden, poultry farm and kitchen had ceased operation by this time.(Pg130)
  • Muster was conducted of Yuendumu and neighbouring property, Haasts Bluff. 850 prime bullocks sold when trucked to Adelaide. Gross return of $720,000, None of the funds went to the cattle enterprise (Pg 260)
  • Yuendumu is declared Aboriginal land under the Aboriginal land rights Act 1977 (Pg 262)
    • NPC couldn’t access mainstream rural finance (Pg 262)
      • Authors note – When Aboriginal land is alienated freehold it is not able to be sold. It can’t held as security for loans, therefore can’t be used as security for debt repayment.


  • Annual cost of training allowance for cattle enterprise $80,000 (Pg 255)
  • Trucking and drafting yards were gradully built from scrap steel from government dumps (Pg 266)
  • NPC employed 12 stockmen (Pg 265)
    • high levels of employment numbers were maintained through cattle sales, labour programs and funding.


  • Ngarliyikirlangu Pastoral Company (NPC) is formed (Pg 259)
    • 6 directors with 60 shareholders
    • All government assets were sold except the cattle (Pg 260)
    • NPC commenced operations with a tractor, trailer and approximately 3500 head of cattle.(Pg 261)
    • Enterprise grant was applied for – $55,000 79/80 (Pg 261)
    • Stock mortgage was raised $20,000 (Pg261)
    • Stockmans wages were to be paid from cattle sales.(Pg 261)
  • BTEC begins (pg 261)
  • Significant tension arose as company directors of NPC used vehicles for personal use (Pg 263)
    • highlighted critical tension – rights of the land owner over an enterprise taking place upon his and other descent group lands (Pg 263)
    • Cattle sale money was thought it should be split between directors and shareholders
      • misunderstood the link between income and costs – owners thought “funny business going on” (Pg 263)
      • community people were taking killers without payment to the company (Pg 264)


  • NPC employed 20 stockmen (Pg 265)



  • Cattle enterprise was (Pg 266)
    1. bantail mustering
    2. culling old stock
    3. testing and ear tagging young stock (BTEC)
    4. developing internal paddocks
    5. improving monitoring of waters
    6. regularly testing for disease free status
  • NPC was one of the few aboriginal properties to not be issued with compulsory destocking order (pg 266)



  • IAD began to advise on property development (Pg 266)


  • Feasibility study concluded that the property had insufficent waters to develop herd to 5,000 – 6,000 head.(Pg 266)
    • Alternative development options were suggested.
    • Develop herd to 5,600 head.
    • establish more bores, paddocks and yards, estimated to cost $283,000
    • build a community abattoir and a butcher shop, estimated to cost $21,500
    • restocking and operational costs estimated to cost $355,000
  • NPC felt it was in a positition to be commercially viable and achieve its development aims (Pg 269)
  • DAA was subumed to private and public organisations. (Pg 267)
    • now eleven organisations employing 73 Aboriginal people
    • created confusion, political rivalry and conflict in Yuendumu
  • Number of outstations were being established at Yuendumu (Pg 268)
  • Negotiations commenced over royalities relating to goldfields in Tanami (Pg 268)
    • Directors began to take less interest in cattle operations (Pg 273)
  • Advisory service of IAD was withdrawn and as funding was based on IAD feasibiltys study funding was withheld.(Pg 270)
  • Significant conflict in the community 1983 – 1996 major disputes as to the role of the council and local governement (Pg 276)


  • Central Australian Advisory Pastoralist Association (CAAPA) was formed (Pg 270)
    • acted as lobbyist for Central Australian Pastoralists
    • Limited property development advice
    • no accounting or training services provided
    • accepted IAD study
      • NPC applied for development funds $706,000, over 5 years.
      • Application was unsuccessful based on land capacity (Pg 271)


  • NPC received a capital grant of $37608. (Pg 271)
  • DEIR continue support through community employment program (Pg 271)
    • enables 19 full time and 24 casual employees to be maintained.


  • Concerns raised by Central Land Council  as to Yuenduma land resource ability to support a herd of 5,600 head (Pg 269)
    • CLC calculated a safe stocking rate of 1,000 – 1,500 head (Pg 269)
    • NPC access to funding was now been seriously affected (Pg 269)

1988 / 89

  • CAAPA management was being questioned (Pg 274)
    • questionable individual grants to cattle stations
    • Alledged funds allocated to NPC were used by a CAAPA employee to purchase personal paintings (Pg 274)
    • Audit could not account for $70,000
    • CAAPA was investigated, wound up and no further action was taken by ATSIC


  • Hawke-Keating Governments introduced form of local government called community government
    • This had been opposed by land councils – come leadership became more focused on structure of community organisations and less on delivery of service issues.(Pg 170)
    • Result was that community operated cattle stations depended on who from their families was represented in community councils (Pg170)
    • Allies of the cattle company – Ngarliyikirlangu were on council – in kind support of bulldozers and graders was available for dam building (Pg170)
      • when council had people not interested in cattle operation there was no support for it.(Pg170)
    • Proliferation of Commonwealth and NT agencies serving communities (Pg171)
      • singnificant lack of co-ordination between them (Pg171)
      • An aboriginal community pursuing pastoral activities to attempt to conduct a whole of property development program needed to consult and negotiate with 4-5 Commonwealth and NT agencies. (Pg 171)

Agencies consulting_edited-1Source – Black Pastoralism S Phillpot 2000 (Pg 172)
Agencies consulting with Aboriginal communities

  • All employment funding is withdrawn (Pg 271)
    • reason of withdrawal – funding is meant to be directed at economically viable projects (Pg 271)
  • Ministers letter to NPC advise that $1.2M has been invested over last 10 years (Pg 271)
    • NPC dispute and say it was only $670,000 (Pg 271)


  • Employment is reduced to only 1 employee plus manager (pg 275)
  • Abattoir is developed (Pg 272)
    • Licensed slaughterhouse built from a grant from ATSIC and training subsidies from DEET (Pg 276)
    • Over first 14 months of operations employs 4 different trainers (pg 272)
    • no aboriginal trainees were able to complete training programs in meat processing (pg 272)
    • 1993-1996 no training is conducted (pg 272)
  • Abattoir operation(Pg 276)
    • became a major cash flow for NPC
    • was difficulty in employing qualified butchers to train Warlpiri butchers
      • slaughterhouse was not well maintained


  • Manager was unemployed by NPC, continued to run the operation while on unemployment benefits (pg 275)
  • Herd numbers to now below 3,000 head (Pg 275)

1994 / 95

  • Beef prices collapse.(Pg 273)
    • NPC can’t turn off enough cattle to cover interest on debts


  • Department Primary industries advised that facility didn’t meet the new Australian Quarantine Inspection service standards (Pg 276)
  • NPC is currently unviable, Owes Yuenduma Mining Company $150,000, secured by 1,500 head of cattle. (Pg 281)
    • Throughout its operation 1972 – 1996 NPC never made a profit or achieved economic viability (Pg 282)


  • 1st January – slaughterhouse lost its licence (Pg 276)
    • Possible if the slaughterhouse had been successfully operated it would have enabled NPC to achieve a profit (Pg 282)
  • NPC business effectively was only sustained by the benevolence of its major creditor – Yuendumu Mining Company (Pg 276)


All references –

Black Pastoralism – Contemporary Aboriginal Land Use – The experience of Aboriginal owned pastoral enterprises in the Northern Territory – 1972 – 1996  Stuart Phillpot. 2000.



Palumpa. NT

Palumpa is an aboriginal community SW of Darwin, operating a pastoral property the abattoir is of vital economic importance to the property as it supplies meat to the local community.

Other Names

  • Wadeye abattoir
  • Port Keats abattoir

Current Operation

  • Currently in operation


  • Palumpa is an aboriginal owned pastoral station 230 km south west of of Darwin, located near a town called Wadeye in the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf. Community living area originally known as Palumpa is now called Nganmarriyanga.

Palumpa #1

Palumpa #2



  • Processes 20 head of cattle a week1



  • Palumpa Pastoral Property was originally established as an offshoot of Port Keats Mission (pg 316)3
  • Property Established as a private company (Pg 333)3
    • directors largely represent the traditional owners of the area4
    • For long periods the station was the only provider to the services of the developing community4
  • Property is situated on some of the best Pastoral land in the Port Keats / Daly River area. (Pg 316)3
    • Covers a wide variety of country.(Pg 399)3
    • Average grazing capacity 1 beast to 50 hectares.(Pg 399)3
    • Takes 5-7 years to produce a 500kg animals (Pg 399)3
    • Run relatively small herd compared to the district commercial grazing average (Pg 399)3
    • Land is low grazing capacity and wet season limits production (pg 399)3
  • Major reason for success was the estalishment of domestic abattoir to provide meat to surrounding communities.(Pg 316)3
  • Palumpa Properties main support was the community of Port Keats.(Pg 316)3
  • Initial capital investment of abattoir operations was provided by the NT government(Pg 343)3


  • Until 1990 Palumpa had been able to access loan and grant funding from Aboriginal Development Corporation (ADC) and Aboriginal Torees Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) (pg 316)3


  • Palumpa property title at this time is Aboriginal freehold.3
    • Land area Size 1,150 sq km.(Pg 329)3
    • receiving ATSIC or other enterprise support at this time (pg 329)3
    • Operated under CDEP program (Pg 329)3
    • 3 community services were available (Pg 329)3
    • Had a non-local manager (Pg 329)3
    • Employed 4 people (Pg 329)3
  • Herd Size of Palumpa property 3,700 head (Pg 329)3
    • Carrying Capacity 10,000 head (Pg 329)3


  • Palumpa Pastoral property is of sufficent size to support the abattoir processes (Pg 316)3
  • Employ 5 people on the property and 7 in the butcher shop (Pg 316)3


  • Facility is cited in a report to be in operation at this time (Pg 14)2
  • Demand for MSA (Meat standards Australia) is not an issue for indigenous communities, therefore these small abattoirs don’t compete with product from southern Australia.(Pg 14)2


  • July. At this point in time there are two other abattoirs operated on communities that are Aboriginal owned5
  • September. Indigenous Land Corporation have acquired 221 properties across Australia since 19956
    • Manage 70,000 head of cattle on various Aboriginal held stations6


  1. Managing Indigenous Pastoral Land. Module 9. 14/025
  2. ‘A pre-feasibility study of supply and demand issues for multi-species abattoir in Northern Australia’ G Niethe. 2009.
  3. ‘Black pastoralism – Contemporary Aboriginal land use’ S Phillpot 2000
  4. NT Place Names register. Accessed 26.01.2015
  5. ‘Rare bush abattoir’ ABC Rural 07.07.2008
  6. ‘Cattlemen muster pride’ The Australian 22.09.2008

Kalkarindji. NT

A small domestic processor located on an Aboriginal remote community, processes locally bred cattle to sell meat mainly to local communities.

Other Names

Current Operation

  • Currently in operation.


  • Kalkarindji is an Aboriginal community located on the Buntine Highway 350 km south west of Katherine.

Kalkarindji. #1

KalkarindjiSource – Hema Maps.



  • Processes locally grown short horn cattle a week1
  • Uses a bolt action gun to kill the animal1
  • Process the animal by laying in a cradle to dress the carcase.1
  • Supplies communities in the Victoria River District with meat.1
  • Supplies Kakarindji store, Yarralin, Pigeon Hole and Lajamanu2



  • July. At this time there are 2 other Aboriginal owned abattoirs operating in communities3
  • September. Indigenous Land Corporation have acquired 221 properties across Australia since 19955
    • Manage 70,000 head of cattle on various Aboriginal held stations5
  • December. Current butcher – Jason Scadden, has been working at the facility for 11 years.1
  • On kill days 2 other workers help.1
  • After slaughter the animal is laid on a cradle to skin, legs and gut1
  • Facility has a ban saw, mincer and sausage maker1
  • Meat is wrapped, packed and priced.1
  • Goes to the shop in Kalkarindji or other communities.1


  • Is unsatisfied demand for local beef in northern Australia local communities, mining and tourism.2
  • Involvement in meat processing by Indignous communties could develope local beef processing facilities.2
    • Oenpelli abattoir (NT) – more commonly known as Gunbalanya, kills 30 head a week is currently operating.2
    • Palumpa (NT), kills 20 head a week is currently operating2
    • Mataranka (NT) – partially built but has been abandoned.
    • Peppimenarti (NT) proposed.2


  • Oenpelli abattoir is closed4
    • No reason is given by the operator – Australian Indigenous Agribusiness Company4
      • Indigenous Land council newly formed subsidiary that is federally funded4
        • ILC lease and run  Gunbalanya station and meatworks under a 15 year lease agreement4


  1. ‘Touring a remote abattoir’ ABC rural. 15.12.2008
  2. Managing Indigenous Pastoral Land. Module 9, Small scale abattoirs. 14/025
  3. ‘Rare bush abattoir’ ABC Rural 07.07.2008
  4. ‘Local meat shortage, families without income ahead of christmas….’ ABC Rural 22/12/2017
  5. ‘Cattlemen muster pride’ The Australian 22.09.2008


Bond Springs (NT)

More commonly known as Wamboden abattoir, located 30km north of Alice Springs. This facility processes camels.

Other Names

  • Wamboden abattoir

Current Operation

  • Facility can process cattle and camels.
  • Company operating – Centralian Gold2





  • G Dann.1


  • Wamboden abattoir is located 30 kilometres north of Alice Springs

Bond Springs.



  • Central Australian Camel Industry Association (CACIA) is formed to develop markets for trade in live camels and camel meat.4
  • Estimated population in Australia of feral camels in 1995 – 500,000 head4
  • Northern Territory feral camel population estimated to be 60,000 head.4

Camel map, 1995._edited-1Source 24/01/2015
Distribution of Feral camel (Camelus dromedarius) in Australia 1995 (shaded lighter orange)

  • Camels to be processed at an abattoir are required to be4
    • between 3-10 years old4
    • < 400kg, >600kg. Larger animals can’t be handled.4
    • Camels must have previous handling before transported to abattoirs.4
    • if killed when stressed the meat will be darker, taste poorly and not have a good shelf life.4
    • Bulls are not to be in rut (in season), they have a concentrated body odour which makes the meat not fit for human consumption4
    • Cows in final stages of pregnancy must not be sent to the abattoir and cows recently calved will be rejected.4


  • Northern Territory population of feral camels now estimated to be 250,000 – 300,000 head5
    • Located over 875,000 square kilometres of southern NT5
    • Causing significant damage to the environment, degradation of wetlands, destruction of vegetation5
  • Caring for Our Country initiative – 4 year national project – Australian Feral Camel Management Project (AFCMP)5.
    • reduce the numbers of feral camels commencing 2009/20105
    • Aerial culling5


  • February. Contract possibly to be signed to supply up to 50 tonnes of camel meat a week2
    • Slaughter about 400 camels per week2
      • boning and processing to be conducted in South Australia2
    • Supply Australian domestic markets2
      • 10% of the Australian Muslim population2
      • Require a Halal slaughter2
  • October. Federal Government is conducting a camel cull $19M to remove 25,000 animals3
  • Federal Minister for Agriculture – Joe Ludwig is considering all options for camels including live export and export of processed meat.3
  • NT Government say camel trade is not viable and cull must continue to protect the environment.3


  • AFCMP project to June 2013 – culled 52,000 camels in the NT by aerial shooting
    • another 12,000 taken on the ground
    • Estimated to be a 60% reduction of animals in Western desert and 20% in Simpson desert.
    • Estimate a further 25-30,000 animals to be removed in 2013
  • Peterborough abattoir (SA) and Caboolture (QLD) are currently processing 10,000 -15,000 camels per year.
    • have the capacity to process many more
    • significant challenges in the supply chain and high transport costs.
  • Wambonden is processing up to 20 camels a week.
  • Portable abattoirs considered – difficulty to obtain the meat hygiene standards for human consumption
    • Pet meat application for camels is a possibility however risks are assoicated with Indospicine contamination.
      • Toxin found in plants of genus Indigofera. Toxin accumulates in tissue of horses and camels and cause death of dogs if they eat the meat.


  1. Personal communication.
  2. ‘Alice springs abattoir to produce halal camel meat’ Daily Telegraph 22.02.2010
  3. ‘Ludwig not ruling out central Australian camel industry’ ABC rural. 21.10.2010
  5. Alice Springs Rural Review December 2012.

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


  • 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


  • Peter and Ashley Severin5


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



  • 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


  • 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.


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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.


  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

Australian Abattoir Locations

How this map works.
This is a google engine layered map. At the moment it consists of 7 layers. By clicking on the box on the right hand side of the layers names it will illustrate the location of the abattoirs.

This is a work in progress and is not a complete list of all abattoirs that have operated in Australia or are currently operating.
Locations are approximate and are in relation to the closest town to which they are addressed.

The same abattoir site may appear in two different lists.

Use this link to access the Google map Australian Abattoirs locations.


The Layers are

Closed prior to 1970

Closed after 1970

2014 Domestic Meat processors in current operation – as per the Ausmeat listing 16/07/2014

2014 Export Meat processors in current operation – as per the Ausmeat listing 16/07/2014

1963 Export meatworks  – as per  list of Meat export works in Australia as at February 1963 from the book ‘World on a plate – A history of meat processing in Australia’ Stephen Martyn. 2013.

Other abattoirs currently in operation

These are abattoirs located in some states that I am aware of

Abattoirs under construction

      These are abattoirs I am aware of.

Australian Abattoir and Meat Processor Locations

Mt Bundey

Other Names

  • Deepwater meatworks (Pg 143)1
  • Mt Bundey Deepwater (Pg 189)

Current Operation


Hema Maps – Australia Truckies atlas.


  • Mt Bundey & Darwin meat supply 75% – Alben Perrett ( Father -in -law of Bill Ross)1
    • Jim McGhie,1
    • Jim Richards ( brother in law of Bill Ross)1
    • Bill Ross1




  • Decision made to build an abattoir at Mt Bundey(Pg 141)1
    • Roy Angrove – Darwin meat supply1
    • Bill Ross – Mt Bundey1
    • Design was for 20 head per day1
    • Ammonia pipe and refrigeration equipment used from Bullocky Point (NT)
    • rail line from various rail yards1
    • Ore loader bins from the Adelaide River Uranium mine1


  • Plant in opertion, processes 20 head per day.(Pg 141)1
    • lots of operational problems1
    • Jim McGhie – controlled shooting and catching of Buffalo/Bulls1
    • Johnny Richards drove refrigeration truck1
    • Roy Angrove managed abattoir and did the marketing1
    • Bill Ross managed Mt Bundey and cattle1
    • Kevin Larkin – operated butcher shop in Darwin to sell goods1


  • Abattoir up to export standard(Pg 142)1
    • Was thought the export rating would be very beneficial but meat exporters objected to Buffalo meat being exported on the same terms as Beef1
    • Was a large demand for Buffalo1
    • Loss of markets for Buffalo meat, mainly Japan as Buffalo had to be sold under different paperwork requirements.1
    • Mt Bundey had to pay 400 pounds to have a trial shipment in Japan already there destroyed of Buffalo meat.1
    • Hong Kong were a strong market for Buffalo1
    • Other countries were interested but shipping and trans shipping made export unprofitable
  • Buffalo had originally been shot before transport to abattoir for slaughter, attempted to use tranquiliser guns but Buffalo drowned in their own fluids as they were usually full of water and went into their lungs.(Pg 142)1
  • Used drugs Nicotines, Scholine and Anectine in tranquiliser to lower losses but didn’t improve greatly (Pg 142)1


  • Temporarily closed due to personal moving to other areas and1
  • Mt Bundey abattoir was unable to keep up supply to the shop, Sid Parker was able to source other goods for it to sell (Pg 143)1
  • Reopening abattoir was difficult due to poor communications – using telegrams1
    • Team assembled butchers, boners, mechanics, engine drivers1
    • two teams of catching contractors1
    • Commonwealth meat inspector resided at abattoir – was of great assistance in getting abattoir operating again1
    • Processing meat that was shot and live caught – processing 50 head a day1
  • Buffalo and scrub bulls processed, meat packed seperately and beef mainly went to SA(Pg 144)1
    • Had permit to remove Buffalo from Kakadu national park (pg 144)1
  • Interest was shown in people wishing to buy property or butchers shop but not together (pg 144)1
  • Darwin meat Supply (butcher shop) and Mt Bundey was 25% owned by McGhie, Richards and Ross families, Perrett family owned rest.
    • others brought out Perrett family.1
    • Enterprises were to be sold at first opportunity1


  • American Company showed in purchasing Mt Bundey and shop as going concern (Pg 144)1
  • February . American company paid 5% non-returnable deposit, 3 month option to purchase.1
  • April. Amercian company paid out another 5%  with 3 month option to purchase.(Pg 144)1
  • July. Mt Bundey and Darwin meat supply sold to Americans (Pg 145)1
    • Bill Ross stayed on as manager until the end of the year1
    • consultants then would take over running and operation of property.(Pg 145)1


  • Laurie Howard starting catching buffalo for abattoir (Pg 189)



  1. ‘The Privileged few’ Jeff Hill. 2008