Category Archives: Wamboden

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.


Current Operation

  • Still able to be utilised


  • North of Alice Springs
    • Bond Springs Station. Yuendumu road

Map Wamboden


  • G Dann


  • killed culls and heavy bulls, was a good way to maintain herd genetics as the culls could be taken in small consignments and taken off property as handled1
  • Typically processes 20 camels per week for local market2



  • October. Project is put forward to build Alice Springs 3rd abattoir on Bond Springs Station3.
  • Partners in the company will lease the facility for 12 months with an option to buy3
    • Grant Heaslip (Bond Springs station)
    • Jim Turner (The Gardens station)
    • John Gorey (Yambah station) and
    • Gary Dann (Gillen Meats) in partnership with Ron “Smacker” Anderson
  • Main reason for setting up is that the Alice Springs #2 (NT) is very limited3
    • Wamboden had enquiries from Darwin and Adelaide
    • Would supply 25 head a week to Gillen Meats
    • With a 2nd butcher buying more
    • Other butcher sale business had been rejected so as not to jeopardise the viability of the Alice Springs works
  • Wamboden believed Alice Springs doesn’t buy the right kind of meat3
  • Meat quality was an issue with quality of stock on the general market too fat and not sought after by southern butchers3
  • Most Centralian beef was exported for manufacturing purposes90
    • A local restaurant was advertising it only served meat imported from the south3.
  • Profitability of serving a wider market was doubtful under present market conditions3
    • Stock purchased from Haasts Bluff area (200 east of Alice Springs) for $10 per head on property3
      • Transport to Alice cost $13.70
      • Killing fee was $29.29 (slightly less than Adelaide)
      • Freight to Adelaide $16.27
      • Re-inspection and insurance $6.50
      • Made the average carcase cost $75.76 landed Adelaide
    • Price paid was 10c pound, average carcase weighed at 651 pounds3
      • Average carcase returned $65.10
        • Loss of $10.66 realised
  • Wamboden abattoir was relocated from a Buffalo Mobile facility sitting idle in Darwin worth $65,0003
  • Entire installation can be transported on 4 semi trailers complete with its own power pant and refrigeration facilities3
    • Parts of the plant were in position already, rest due to arrive within the week3
  • Initially would kill 20 head a day for 4 days a week3
  • November. Wamboden abattoir begins operations and supplies meat to Gillen Meat store, IL Sorrentino and Woolworths4
  • Manager Smacker Anderson4.
  • 36 beasts had been processed so far4
  • Works was operating on a trial basis at the moment processing 3 head per hour4
    • This would be increased to 5 head per hour


Source Centralian Advocate 13.11.1975
Advertisement placed to sell meat from the local butcher IL Sorrentin Butchers

  • Cattle turnoff in November from the Alice Springs area totalled 898 head5.
    • 451 to local butchers
      • 376 fats and 75 store
    • Alice Springs yard trucked 407
    • MacDonnell yard trucked 185
    • Finke yard trucked 306


  • July. NTCA meet with Chinese owners of Darwin Port to discuss opportunities to export beef from NT to China.6.
    • Landbridge group had already invested in cold-storage facilities at the port and were interested in boxed beef trade between NT and Shandong Province.6.
    • Chinese were circling other mothballed abattoirs in the Territory.6.
    • NTCA had a vision of “network of meatworks” through the central NT corridor to include.6.
      • Batchelor (NT)
        • Currently undergoing refurbishment with likely operation to begin March 2020.
      • Livingstone (NT)
        • Currently mothballed and closed due to operational costs
      • Wamboden (NT)
        • Currently closed and not in operation since
  • Chinese investment company commit to construction of new facility – Hughenden (QLD) processing abattoir to begin operating in 20207.


  1. RT & LP Bloomfield, 29.01.13
  2. ‘Caring for our Country’ Alice Springs Rural Review Dec 2012
  3. ‘Pastoralists seek licence to open a second abattoir’ Centralian Advocate 16.10.1975
  4. ‘Killing at new abattoir’ Centralian advocate 13.11.1975
  5. ‘Turnoff of cattle’ Centralian Advocate 31.12.1975
  6. ‘Landbridge Group and NT Cattlemen….’
  7. ‘Chinese investors back major new meatworks for Nth QLD’ 29.07.2019.
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