Tag Archives: South Australian abattoirs

Naracoorte (Est #423) (SA)

Other Names

Current Operation

  • Aus Meat Accreditation #423. List accessed 02/10/2017
  • Export accredited facility, processing beef only






  • Teys purchase a feedlot and cropping property in north central Victoria from Elders in Charlton1.
    • Feedlot has capacity of 20,000 head1
    • Cost $10M and is Victoria’s largest feedlot1
    • Property is 776 hectares1
    • Feedlot infrastructure is 150 hectares with feed mills, flaking plants1
    • All staff had accepted employment with Teys1
    • Teys committed to capital upgrades over the next 3 years1
    • Primarily provide custom feeding to Naracoorte and Wagga abattoirs.1
    • Previous owners had custom fed 80% of capacity prior to sale2

Sources. Naracoorte

  1. ‘Teys buys Elders Charlton feedlot’ QLD Country life 31.07.2014
  2. ‘Charlton workers keep jobs’ The Weekly Times 30.07.2014
  3. ‘Teys hold talks with AMIEU, as workers call for close to dispute’ Beef Central 12.06.13
  4. ‘Food processing labours under high wages’ ABC rural 07.06.13
  5. ‘Teys: 800 jobs at risk as union rejects wages offer’ Beef Central 12.07.13
  6. ‘Cattle supply forces retrenchments at two JBS QLD plants’ Beef Central 15.07.2016
  7. ‘Beef plants laying idle as cattle squeeze reaches critical point’ Beef Central. 16.08.2016

Gepps Cross

The information in regards to the Gepps Cross processing facilities is taken from predominently one book , ‘The Meat Game – A history of the Gepps Cross Abattoirs and Livestock Markets by Richard Maurovic 2007.Published by Wakefield Press. ISBN 978-1-86254-726-1

Historical aspects are included of the Adelaide and metropolitan areas.


GPD              Government Produce Department

MAB             Metropolitan Abattoir Board

MEAB          Metropolitan and Export Abattoirs Board

TMG             The Meat Game – A History of the Gepps Cross Abattoirs and Livestock  Markets – Richard Maurovic



  • Parliamentary Act is introduced requiring licensing ‘for slaughter cattle intended for sale, barter, shipping or exportation’ (Pg 9)
  • A public slaughter yard was located in the Adelaide Parklands, Thebarton (Pg 9)
    • Authorised location for the slaughter of cattle  for the Adelaide Municipality
    • At the time it was against the law to slaughter cattle  in any other place within the city or within 3 miles of the parkland.
    • Facility was of modest scale and the cities butchers would slaughter their own cattle for a fee
    • It was not compulsory for lambs, sheep and pigs to be slaughtered at the public slaughter yard (pg 10)
    • Slaughtered animals were carried unchilled from slaughter house to their (butcher) shops (Pg 13)
      • During hot weather no stock of meat was kept on hand
      • Meat on display at retail was exposed to dogs, flies and dust
      • Maggots were common problem with pepper being used to deter them (Pg 13)
      • Some butchers had cellars to store meat.
      • A more hygienic method was recognised to be needed (pg 10)
  • Prior to the slaughter yard being built, Adelaide’s 38 butchers would slaughter stock at their own yards
    • butcher sites had no drainage facilities, sheep were stuck and bled over a blood-hole that had to be cleaned and created stench (pg 13)
  • Butchers outside the limits could slaughter stock if they held a licence and were inspected (pg 13)
  • Associated industries established near the slaughter facility along the River Torrens at the present site of the Thebarton Brewery (Pg 13)
    • Eventually they were forced to close due to public protests of health and pollution
  • Railway from Adelaide to Gawler was built (Pg 30)


  • Sheep market area is set aside by proclamation of Government for the purpose of selling sheep (Pg 42)
    • 4 acres in the area of the North Parklands (Pg 42)
    • These facilities were used up until 1913 when the Gepps Cross yards were constructed (Pg 42)
    • This site became very cramped due to numbers being processed (Pg 42)


  • Method of cattle sales by auction is introduced (Pg 6)
    • Sales are conducted at the site currently (2006) known at Pyneham, Lower North East and Glynburn Roads (Pg 6)
    • Prior to auction cattle were valued according to weight and condition, butchers purchasing at a fixed price (Pg 41)
      • Price was set by the salesman (Pg 44)


  • Great difficulty is found to dispose of old ewes and a boiling works is established (Pg 6)
    • Located at Port Adelaide (Off Henley Beach Road) at Mile End, operated by EM ‘Ned’ Bagot (Pg 6)
      • This facility closed when Leopald Conrad established works at Northfield, where the Yatal Prison is now (2006) located (Pg 9)
        • Yatala Prison area was formerly known as ‘The Stockade'(Pg 9)
    • Another boiling works was established on the Port River, at the present railway bridge of Ethelton, West Lakes (2006). Operated by Dean & Laughton (Pg 6)
      • This facility also started a canning operation but was not sucessful, being a venture ahead of its time (Pg 7)


  • Proposal to establish a public abattoir away from the city was canvassed (Pg 15)
    • Ratepayers were asked to support a scheme to borrow £10,000 to  build an new abattoir and adjacent livestock market
    • Proposal was rejected and other polls taken in 1882, 1883 and 1898 also rejected the idea (Pg 15)


  • Proposal to build an abattoir out of the city is rejected for the 2nd time (pg 15)


  • Proposal to build an abattoir out of the city is rejected for the 3rd time (pg 15)


  • Prior to this period, any stock oversupply  weas used for canning or boiled down for tallow (Pg 4)
  • Refrigeration is introduced in some meat houses, resulted in oversupply becoming less of a problem (Pg 4)
  • Most animals were sold directly, the auction system was becoming increasingly popular that allowed greater competition (Pg 5)
  • New public slaughter house was built behind the Adelaide gaol. Location now is Bonython Park (pg 10)
  • A new cattle market site had been established called the Adelaide Corporation Yards (pg 10)
  • A sheep market already operated in the area near a hotel that still exists (2006) and is called ‘Newmarket’ (Pg 10)
    • Sheep flocks were regularly walked through the streets of what is now Adelaide city to the market destinations (Pg 10)


  • Cattle market situated at Thebarton, near the Adelaide gaol was opened (Pg 41)
    • First beasts auctioned in 1886 (Pg 41)


  • Severe droughts affected stock numbers and prices (Pg 4)
  • A small export slaughterhouse of 20 solo hooks is established at Dry Creek (Pg 53)
    • Is a German Export works operated by Leopold Conrad, a prominent Adelaide butcher (Pg 53)
    • Spring lambs were slaughtered at Dry Creek between August – November
    • Carcases transported to Freezers at Port Adelaide by speciality railway wagons.


  • Government Produce Department  establish the Port Adelaide Freezing works to open up and develop overseas markets for SA perishable goods (Pg 53)
    • Located at Ocean Steamers’ Wharf (Pg 54)
    • Four freezing chambers (Pg 54)
  • Port of Adelaide ship its first export of frozen meat to Britain containing mostly lamb, pig and poultry (Pg 53)


  • Proposal to build an abattoir out of the city is rejected for the 4th time (pg 15)


  • Public committee is taking evidence  to consider the establishment of a centrally located meatworks to slaughter cattle, sheep and pigs (Pg 15)
    • Various councils were asked for their support


  • SA State government introduce a Bill to allow municipal authorities the power to borrow money to establish a public abattoir (Pg 16)
    • Initial site proposed was near the existing slaughter house at the Adelaide gaol
    • Bill was defeated as a suitable site could not be agreed upon


  • Dry Creek slaughter house had no tally system and men were paid for treating 130 lambs a day on a ‘go as you please’ basis (Pg 54)
    • Between seasons overfat ewes were killed and boiled down there (Pg 54)


  • 11 of the 15 councils consulted favor a proposal for a site north of Adelaide (Pg 16)
  • 1902 Parliamentary Bill to enable borrowings to build an abattoir are shelved due to alterations

TMG Pg 54. Dry ck prior 1913

Source. TMG. Page 54. Photo Reg Atkinson collection
A yard view of a slaughterhouse that operated at Dry Creek before the opening of the Metropolitan Abattoirs.


  • Dry Creeks facility is unable to cope with the number of stock due to the increase in exports (Pg 54)
    • Facility is closed (Pg 54)
  • Government Produce Department (Pg 54)
    • Builds a sheep meatworks at the Port Adelaide wharf (Pg 54)
      • Consists of a double slaughter board with 100 hooks
      • more chambers and a drying room
      • Cattle and sheep yards
      • Beef slaughterhouse
    • Enlarge the freezers at the Port Adelaide wharf.
  • Bill is passed with an amendment to compensate butchers who owned private slaughterhouses which would be forced to close once the new abattoirs (Gepps Cross)  became operational (Pg 16)
    • Compensation was £7,000 to each butcher owner (Pg 21)


  •  Metropolition Abattoirs Act receives Governors assent 2nd December 1908 (pg 16)
  • The Metropolition Abattoirs Board (MAB) is also established(pg 16)
  • Estimated cost of the completed works is £353,000 (equivalent $50M at 2006)(pg 16)
  • Abattoirs site area is now Mawson Lakes, Pooraka (2006) was known as Dry Creek (pg 29)
  • Land area purchased for the site was 289 acres at Gepps Cross (Pg 17)
    • Additional land was purchased of 118 acres and 78 acres (Pg 17)
      • Total area of 480 acres(Pg 17)
    • Further land is acquired to extend the total area to 611 acres.
      • also accommodates crop growing areas (Pg 20)
    • Entire area at completion of abattoir, stock markets and paddocks is 626 acres (Pg 38)
      • Stock markets would occupy 18 acres (Pg 38)
  • Design of the entire facility, buildings, stockyards and surrounding buildings was  based on requirments of;(Pg 19)
    • Location outside of the city, with no indication it will be soon surrounded by buildings
    • Road access
    • Connection with a railway
    • Capable of underground drainage
    • Have sufficent water
    • Be of sufficent size to allow assured extensions in at least 30 years time
  • Entire public abattoirs scheme was elaborate, ambitious and impressive (Pg 36)
  • No expense was to be spared to make every department conform to highest level of hygiene.(Pg 36)
  • Livestock would be closely inspected with every precaution to prevent the sale of diseased meat (Pg 36)
  • Customers would be assured of guaranteed cleanliness and pure food product (Pg 36)


  • Advertisements are placed for designs and workers who may be interested in employment (Pg 19)
    • 10 designs were received.
    • Charles A D’Ebro of Melbourne won the design contract for the abattoirs
      • Had designed a facility in Footscray, Victoria for Angliss and Co (Pg 19)
        • Also Brooklyn for Thomas Borthwick & Sons
        • Geelong for Portland Freezing works
        • Abattoirs for the city of Bendigo
        • Shire of Oakleigh, Western Australia.
    • MAB only accepted the abattoir plans and didn’t consider any of stock market designs to be suitable and designed their own.
  • Construction was planned to begin early 1910 (Pg 19)
    • Capacity to slaughter 500 cattle, 4,500 sheep and 280 pigs per day
    • Design enabled stock to be held in covered yards
    • 7 chilling halls
    • Adjacent saleyards would accomodate 3,000 cattle, 50,000 sheep and 2,000 pigs
  • Gepps Cross was to only process stock for consumption in the Adelaide Metroplitan area (Pg 56)
  • Meat for export was processed at GPD abattoir and freezing works at Port Adelaide (Pg 56)


  • Government construct a butter factory, meat conserving and canning works at the Port Adelaide wharf (Pg 54)
    • Also establish a state owned butcher shop at Port Adelaide (Pg 54)
      • sells reject lambs not up to export standard (Pg 54)
        • this causes conflict with local butchers as the meat is sold at reduced prices (Pg 54)
  • Stock Market construction tender is accepted for Gepps Cross (Pg 20)
    • Cattle stock yards would enable 400 cattle to be sold through the sale ring per hour.
      • Sale ring capable to hold an audience of 200 people with individual animals paraded and then removed, Actual buyers remain seated
      • Building had provision for refreshments and a telephone room
  • Principal contract for construction of the abattoir went to Wadey & Co of Melbourne (Pg 20)
    • Used 11M bricks in construction (Pg 38)
  • Contract to build motor garages, workshops and 47 workers cottages – Colyer & Hill
  • Eyes and Crowie supplied motor lorries (Pg 20)
    • 7 tonne, 27 horsepower Commers (Pg 23)
    • Chain driven
    • Solid rubber tyres
    • 5 speed  preselect gearboxes (Pg 23)
      • top speed 12 miles per hour (Pg 23)
    • Holden’s built the timber bodies (Pg 23)
      • sawdust for insulation (Pg 23)
    • Follard Hill on the Main North road at Enfield had too steep a gradient for the trucks so the top was shaved off to enable their use (Pg 23)
    • 17 trucks in the original fleet (Pg 35)
  • Mechanical work was conducted by Newton, McLaren and Co (Pg 20)
  • Electrical work was done by Unbehaun and Johnstone (Pg 20)
  • Refrigeration machinery was supplied by Wildridge and Sinclair (Pg 20)
  • Provision was made near the abattoir for the Government farm to grow hay and cereal crops (Pg 20)
  • Engine room, floored with tiles contained 2 sets of refrigeration machinery (Pg 38)
    • independent steam condenser
    • water circulating pump
    • 2 electrical lighting sets
  • Chilling rooms were lined with pumice stones for insulation (Pg 38)
  • By Products house was designed on the most modern lines
    • had tanks, digesters, tallow vats, hydraulic presses, blood cookers, a drying plant, bagging and screening plants, platform scales and bone-crushing plant (Pg 38)
  • Boiling down works was built on an acre site one mile from the abattoirs at the Grand Junction road intersection with churchill road (Pg 38)
    • Now occupied by the current Dry creek power station (Pg 38)
  • Engineers workshop (Pg 38)
  • Blacksmiths (Pg 38)
  • Carpenters shop (Pg 38)
  • Coopers shop (Pg 38)
  • Tool shop (Pg 38)
  • Paint shop (Pg 38)
  • Tackle rooms (Pg 38)
  • Dray shed and stables (Pg 38)
    • that also housed the 17 delivery trucks (Pg 38)
  • Brick garage contained repair shop, washing down area, and accommodation for drivers (Pg 38)
    • Behind the Garage were fuel bowsers and tanks (Pg 38)
  • Administrative building that fronted the Main North Road (Pg 38)
    • provided necessary offices for various managers and staff (Pg 38)
    • Included laboratories, a dining room and first aid room (Pg 38)
  • 47 workers cottages (Pg 38)
    • maisonettes and built in rows in English workingman’s tradition (Pg 38)
    • Initially no electricity (Pg 63)
    • Each had 3 bedroom, with a generous sized kitchen (Pg 63)
    • High ceilings to aid cooling (Pg 63)
    • Water was heated by a wood-fired copper (Pg 63)
    • Each house had a shed and outside toilet (Pg 63)
    • People would purchase ice for ice-chests from a special ice-making freezer on the abattoir site (Pg 64)
  • Cottages were also built for receiver of stock and night watchman (Pg 38)
  • Larger residences for superintendent, veterinary surgeon, chief inspector, first assistant inspector, mechanical and electrical engineer (Pg 38)
  • Sheep market yards (Pg 38)
    • Shed , acted as a covered walkway, 896 feet (271m) long (Pg 38)
    • 496,864 Melbourne bluestone pitchers were used to pave the market areas(Pg 38)
    • 3,152 gates (Pg 38)
    • 8,595 timber and concrete posts (Pg 38)
  • Calculated total length of all stock paddocks and yards 21.5 miles. (34.4km) (Pg 38)


  • February 21, Foundation stone was laid to commemorate the start of construction of the Gepps Cross abattoir and saleyard facilities (Pg 20)
  • Constuction for the abattoirs and sheep marketing area is underway (Pg 27)


  • Water supply was a problem requiring 3 new bores (Pg 17)
    • quality was suitable for watering stock and washing down but not for boilers and domestic purposes
    • A steel main water pipe was laid from the Barossa Valley to supply the site (Pg 17)
  • Meeting was held to advise of charges the new Metropolitan Abattoirs at Gepps Cross would charge when operational (Pg 21)
    • Master Butchers support change that will mean all meat slaughtered will be delivered to butchers at their shops by MAB supplied lorries (Pg 21)
      • Experimentation of the new lorry system was conducted at James Eddy’s butcher shop at Main North Road (Pg 23)
        • Meat rails were installed at the shop to hang and slide the carcases directly from the delivery truck to the shop (Pg 23)
        • All butchers were urged to install rails, If they didn’t they wouldn’t receive meat(Pg 23)
        • To avoid unnecessary handling of the meat a cable wire was installed for some operated by a windlass and drum but some butchers feared the strength of their walls couldn’t handle the stress of where the drum was anchored (Pg 24)
        • Hyde Patent bar was invented by Unley butcher Charles Hyde
          • steel bar mounted on the wall that could be extended into the truck and folded flat when not needed.(Pg 24)
            • Trials held of the Hyde bar in 1913.(Pg 24)
    • Butchers were concerned that if the meat wasn’t delivered to all, then gradually market domination would occur of only the larger butchers who could afford the transport (Pg 21)
    • Many butchers had opposed the abattoir as they felt it was stripping them of their rights to; (Pg 21)
      • slaughter animals (Pg 21) and
      • delivery of meat from the abattoirs to the shops (Pg 21)
        • Previously meat had been delivered by horse and cart (Pg 24)
    • Butchers felt that government simply did not have the skills to handle livestock and the saleyard/abattoir processes required (Pg 23)
    • Butchers felt the entire layout of the Gepps Cross facility and yards was impractical(Pg 23)
      • In their view, absurd laying of the site for various markets
      • inadequate provision of by-product
      • Government lack practical men with knowledge and skills to handle day to day challenges of abattoir operations
      • some of the ideas for Gepps Cross were untried and yet to be proven methods of process.
    • Some butchers felt that more than one abattoir should be built, it was not the Gepps Cross proposal they opposed it was the fact that processing would be so concentrated to one location(Pg 23)
      • butchers wanted more than one abattoir at differing sites built(Pg 23)
  • Butchers were critical of how fresh green skins would be handled(Pg 27)
    • Skin shed 600 yards from the abattoir (Pg 27)
    • fear that buyers would not trek to the green skins site to buy the product and the skins would rot (Pg 27)
    • Butchers felt that any money lost due to damage of skins was borne by them (Pg 27)
  • Metropolitan Abatttoirs area for delivery to butchers was divided into 18 districts
    • Each area had a colour (Pg 25)
    • Each butcher had an identification number (Pg 25)
      • coloured numbered discs were used to identify the carcase that would be delivered to each butcher (Pg 25)
    • An order was placed by the butcher prior to animal slaughter at the Adelaide Post Office by 2.15pm the day prior to requirement of the carcase (Pg 25)
      • orders were telephoned to Gepps Cross (Pg 26)
        • 5 copies of the order made (Pg 26)
          • drover
          • foreman of the killing halls
          • foreman of the chilling rooms
          • office
          • superintendent
    • Trucks loaded in the middle of the night for early departure (Pg 25)
      • Prior to refrigeration the wooden interiors were sprayed with water, then a solution of formalin to help keep the meat cold (Pg 25)
    • meat would be delivered with disks and gumbrels (Meat hooks) (Pg 25)
      • the butchers responsibility to return the hooks and discs with his following delivery (Pg 25)



TMG Pg 43 1913

Source. TMG. Pg 43. Photo. Reg Atkinson collection.
This 1913 overhead view of a nearly completed abattoirs sheep market looks east towards Main North road. The covered walkway that ran the length of the market was 896 feet long. The sheep market had 3152 gates and 8959 timber and concrete posts.

  • First year of operation of the Gepps Cross Livestock markets
    • sell 826,186 animals
      • Major agents were:
        • Elder, Smith and Co
        • Goldsbrough Mort
        • Dalgety
        • Bennett & Fisher
    • Previous selling centres are closed (Pg 42)
      • Sheep saleyard North Parklands had been in operation since 1848 (Pg 42)
        • last sale held 09/07/1913 (Pg 42)
      • Cattle saleyard, Thebarton had been in operation since 1884 (Pg 41)
        • Last sale held 07/07/1913 (Pg 42)
  • Charles Hyde patent bar is tested for use – steel bar mounted on the walls of butchers shops and would extend into the trucks delivering meat to allow the carcase hooks to move from the truck to the shop with minimal handling (Pg 24)
    • the bar could be folded away when not in use (Pg 24)
  • Trial operations were conducted of the abattoir prior to formal opening to rectify any problems (Pg 27)
    • livestock were slaughtered (Pg 27)
  • Pig marketing area is undercover and near completion (Pg 27)
  • Areas east of the immediate meatworks were important hay crop production areas supplying numerous dairy farms and chaff works, Modbury, Ingle Farm and Gilles Plains, even Enfield (pg 33)
  • July 12. Offical opening of the Gepps Cross meatworks occurs (pg 35)
  • Adelaide has a current population of 200,000 people (Pg 35)
  • Adelaide is the only Australian capital city where livestock slaughtering and processing was solely undertaken by a local government authority with offical health inspection gaurantee and scientific analysis (Pg 35)
  • As the Gepps Cross abattoir opens all city corporation slaughter houses and stock markets are closed (Pg 35)
    • 140 private slaugherhouses were located in the metropolitan area (Pg 35)
      • were known to be unhygienic and unsavoury (Pg 35)
        • 117 were in the Adelaide city area
        • 18 at Port Adelaide
        • 5 at Glenelg, Marion and Brighton districs
    • No butchers were allowed to kill privately(Pg 35)
  • All meat supply now came under control of the Lord Mayor – MAB chairman (Pg 35)
  • Officals opening speech by Lord Mayor (later Sir) Walter Lavington “the public would look not only for efficent management, but due economy, so the price of meat would not be unduly raised to consumers”
  • July 14 Abattoirs commence killing livestock
    • workforce 220 men
      • had been conducting training prior to the abattoir opening (Pg 39)
      • Union rates 2s 3 1/2 d per head – yarding, dressing and everything else.
  • Some visitors praised the works others highly critical, felt the facility was a white elephant due to it’s cost (Pg 39)
  • First cattle market sale was held 14/07/1913 (Pg 46)
    • First bullock was sold for £50, with money donated to the Children’s Hospital (Pg 45)
    • First yarding was 1,289 head(Pg 46)
  • Works offices for Gepps Cross located in Eagle Chambers, adjacent to the Adelaide town hall (Pg 60)
    • Offices were moved to Gepps Cross in 1948 (Pg 60)
  • Auctioneers complained the new selling ring was too large (Pg 46)
    • high roof was difficult to project their voices if it was raining (Pg 46)
    • Sidney Kidman criticised the cattle yard design saying they were unsatisfactory and cost too much to build (Pg 46)
      • Angered Kidman that the MAB had not seek advice from stock agents on design and was critical of the bull ring being altered during its construction (Pg 46)
      • Bull ring was 5 times too large (Pg 46)
        • nearly all gates swung the wrong way (Pg 46)
        • More difficult to work 1,000 head in the present yards compared to the old yards (Pg 46)
      • Pig selling pens were too far from the railway offloading (Pg 48)
        • fat pigs are very difficult to move around (Pg 48)
      • Costs of yard fees were very high (Pg 48)
        • Gepps Cross charging 3 times more than Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane (Pg 48)
        • Kidman threatened to have all his cattle stock sent to QLD (Pg 48)
          • Killing fees in QLD 5-6s (Pg 48)
          • rail costs would be reduced 25% (Pg 48)
          • price of cattle increases £2-3 a head to consumer and butcher if selling at Gepps Cross (Pg 48)
        • Kidman sent the bulk of his cattle to Adelaide but without improvements to the yards it was easier and cheaper to send them to QLD (Pg 48)
  • One leading butcher says willing would have paid £1,000 per year to not be part of the Gepps Cross MAB and slaughter his own stock (Pg 49)
    • fear was that the small butchers would be driven out of business due to charges (Pg 49)
    • scandal at the time surrounded the topic (Pg 49)
    • MAB admitted to consultation with stock agents for the sheep yards and on inspection of the yard plans made alterations (Pg 49)
      • original plans had no means to move stock from the ramps to other parts of the market areas (Pg 49)
      • lack of medium yards at the drafting races (Pg 49)
      • MAB had never sighted plans for pig or cattle markets before construction (Pg 49)
    • Royal Commission was announced to inquire into the Metropolitan abattoirs. (Pg 49)
  • First hide and skin sale was held 15/07/1913 (Pg 46)
  • First sheep sale was held 16/07/1913 (Pg 46)
    • 13,805 sheep plus 2,225 lambs (Pg 46)
    • No stock were to be accepted if marked with tar, only paint or raddle (chalk) was acceptable (Pg 46)
  • Calves and pigs were sold the same day as sheep (Pg 46)
    • 230 calves (Pg 46)
    • 450 pigs (Pg 46)
      • pig sales continued to be sold the same day as sheep the entire lifetime of the Gepps Cross yards (Pg 46)
  • November 20. Royal Commission begins to take evidence and report on the management, working and control of the abattoir (Pg 50)
    • Considered high prices of livestock and slaughtering costs charged (Pg 50)
      • effect of flow on prices to retailers (Pg 50)
      • investigated sale of meat outside the systems designated territory (Pg 50)
      • bad handling of stock (Pg 50)
      • closure of butcher shops after the opening of the abattoir (Pg 50)
    • Rise in livestock prices could have been attributed to current drought (Pg 50)
      • caused 50% increase in stock values (Pg 50)
      • Butchers blamed increase in costs on Gepps Cross facility when in fact was market value of livestock (Pg 50)
      • Inevitable some values would increase as butchers no longer slaughtered their own stock and carcases were being processed under more hygienic conditions, including meat was transported to them (Pg 50)

TMG Pg 124. 1913

Source. TMG. Pg 124. Photo Richard Maurovic collection
When the Metropolitan Abattoirs opened in 1913, cattle were slaughtered by teams of men using the ‘bed and tackle’ system. In this circa 1913 picture, a team pose in front of a partially dressed bullock carcass.

TMG Pg 130. 1913

Source. TMG. Pg 130. Photo. Reg Atkinson collection
This 1913 picture of the Gepps Cross abattoirs beef slaughter hall contrasts sharply to the modern, automated systems used in the abattoirs of today (See early 1980’s)


  • A school known as Abattoirs school is established for employee’s children to attend of Gepps Cross (Pg 31)
    • Later changed its name to Pooraka School in 1940 (Pg 31)
  • New Royal Commission looks at the operations of any person, combination or trust tending to create any restraint on trade or monopoly in connection with the export of meat from Australia (Pg 51)
  • Introduction of US based meat firms were coming into the Australian market (Pg 50)
  • US had removed import duties on meat which resulted in the US purchasing larger volumes of Australian product (Pg 51)
  • Foreign companies were (Pg 51)
    • Swift Beef Company – registered in QLD
    • Morris Beef Company of London (Pg 51)
      • Purchased a site at the Brisbane river with a view to establish a meatworks in partnership with Borthwicks and Angliss (Pg 51)
    • Chicago meat packers firm – Armour & Co (Pg 51)
      • this company had purchased 5,000 head of cattle from Sydney Kidman to be processed at Adelaide and exported by the Government produce department of South Australia (Pg 51)
  • Royal Commission ruled it was improbable the the 3 foreign companies had intention of engaging in local trade in Australia, their immediate objective to purchase Australian produce in increase supplies in their own refrigerated holdings within the US & Britain (Pg 51)
    • ruled there was no evidence in the shape of any concerted action (Pg 51)


  • 47 workers cottages that were installed in 1913 were connected to power (Pg 63)
  • Police Constable was stationed at Gepps Cross (Pg 64)


  • Gepps Cross manager went on an overseas trip to investigate worldwide technological advances in meat processing and handling
    • visited New Zealand, United States and Europe
    • In the US he visits Chicago stockyards and the Swift meatworks
      • Seen the use of the string gang system (Pg 56)
      • While efficent the Gepps Cross abattoir wasn’t suited to process due to the need to keep 200 butchers supplies seperate (Pg 56)


  • Butchers from Port Adelaide petition the Adelaide city council to  amend the Metropolitan Abattoir Act to allow them to have their stock killed at Port Adelaide slaughterhouse (Pg 57)
    • Was not allowed as the Port Adelaide facility only treated stock for export (Pg 57)
    • Was deemed unfair to take business away from Gepps Cross and the Port Adelaide facility didn’t have a delivery system (Pg 57)


TMG Pg 223 1930's

Source. TMG Pg 223. Photo Stock Journal.
In the 1930’s, the use of ‘the motor’ to transport sheep to market quickly became popular with many producers. This aerial view, taken in September 1933 shows a congested Gepps Cross market area. A corner of the pig market can be seen at the top.


  • The Great Depression has begun to be felt through the entire community and severely disrupts the fledgling export markets (Pg 76)
  • The Depression affects the entire meat industry.(Pg 76)
    • Freezing works supported by the government cut the wages rates and men go on strike (Pg 76)
      • meatworks became idle (Pg 76)
    • Many butchers forced to live between seasons on the government handouts (Pg 77)
  • Severe Wharf strike at Port Adelaide with police stationed day and night at the wharf gates (Pg 76)
    • No export lambs could be loaded onto ships at this time
    • Considerable conflict existed between slaughtermem, employees and others (Pg 77)


  • State Inquiry into the transportation, slaughter, distribution and shipment of livestock in South Australia (Pg 57)
    • Committee recommended that control of all slaughtering and freezing of livestock for export and local consumption be vested to a new board – Metropolitan and Export Abattoirs Board ( MEAB) (Pg 57)
      • MEAB was to take over powers of
        • Gepps Cross and Port Adelaide (Pg 57)
        • Glenelg and Marion Abattoirs (Pg 57)
          •  who had not been under the MAB previously and had been established due to an alliance formed between some butchers in those areas.(Pg 57)
          • Glenelg abattoir was located on what is now the Glenelg golf course (Pg 60)
          • Glenelg and Marion facilities demolished 1939 (Pg 60)
  • December 7. MEAB was passed and assented in parliament (Pg 57)
    • All livestock for both local and export were now to be treated at Gepps Cross (Pg 57)

TMG. Pg 59. 1937

Source. TMG Pg 59. Photo Primary Industries and Resources SA

Before the chain slaughter system was introduced at the Gepps Cross works in 1937, sheep were slaughtered on a ‘solo’ basis. This 1933 picture shows the Gepps Cross solo slaughtermen at work.


  • April 12. MEAB commence operations (Pg 57)
  • November. Contract to reconstruct the Gepps Cross slaughtering units, provision of freezers and coldstores was created (Pg 57)
    • New chain slaughtering system would be installed (Pg 59)
      • previous operations meant slaughtermen treated an entire animal singularly (Pg 59)
      • Moving chain was a dissassembly line where men performed specific repetitive tasks (Pg 59)
      • Necessary additions were completed by 1937 (Pg 59)
  • At this time the Port Adelaide facilities at its zenith(Pg 57)
    • Separate beef and calf slaughter-houses (Pg 57)
    • mutton and lamb boards (Pg 57)
    • Pig hall located on the bottom floor (Pg 57)


  • Port Adelaide meatworks closes (Pg 59)
    • Demolished 1939 (Pg 60)


  • Gepps Cross abattoir new chain system is installed (Pg 59)
  • Men who had been employed at Port Adelaide were transferred to Gepps Cross (Pg 59)
  • All workers undertook training at the William Angliss works in Melbourne (Pg 59)
    • Once acquainted with the system 200 slaughtermen operated 4 chains (Pg 60)
      • Processed 14,000 to 16,000 lambs a day (Pg 60)
  • Railway spur line was built to unload export sheep and lambs within the Gepps Cross abattoir (Pg 59)
    • Included unloading ramps and construction of covered yards capable of holding 8,000 head (Pg 59)




  • Total livestock now yarded and sold at Gepps Cross is 71% higher than in 1918 (Pg 5)
  • Port Adelaide works was demolished  (Pg 60)
  • Glenelg and Marion abattoirs were also demolished at the same time (Pg 60)
  • September 1. World War I is declared (Pg 79)
  • As part of the war effort (Pg 79)
    • householders were forced to billet troops in their homes (Pg 79)
      • included providing them with food at the household expense (Pg 79)
      • created a heavy retail demand for meat (Pg 79
  • Beef prices were high due to transport shortages due to restriction of number of railway livestock vans allocated to transport stock to market (Pg 79)


  • Abattoir school changes its name to Pooraka School (Pg 31)
  • Early days of WW II are in effect (Pg 77)
  • Gepps Cross pig slaughter hall is extended (Pg 76)
  • Australian Meat Board request that new freezers be constructed to to hold 6 weeks of killing supplies instead of the usual 3 (Pg 77)
  • Proposal is put forward to decentralise Gepps Cross and establish smaller works at Kadina and Wallaroo  to cope with the lamb season periods (Pg 77)
    • Would have allowed free up rail and road transport to better serve the war effort (Pg 77)
    • was a considerable lack of labour at the time (Pg 77)
    • idea never eventuated (Pg 77)


  • Gepps Cross erect and equip a cannery for treating mutton (Pg 77)
    • To be fully operational would require 10,000 to 12,000 sheep a month (Pg 77)
    • Price charged for slaughter was 5 pence per pound of canned weight of meat (Pg 77)
    • plant employed cheaper junior labour (Pg 77)
    • Abattoirs didn’t market the meat, producer had to do that and supply their own labels for the cans (Pg 77)


  • Livestock wardens were appointed under the Civil Defence Force.(Pg 77)
    • Authorities could take charge of all livestock and move them if required for safety in the event of an air raid or state of emergency (Pg 77)
    • if an air raid occured the wardens were to record number of deaths and kill injured stock (Pg 77)
  • South Australian Railways take control of of all allocations of railway vans for the movement of lambs to market (Pg 81)
    • At the time movement of stock, particularly in peak periods of lambing were disrupted due to military priorities and producers weren’t guaranteed stock trains would arrive in time for markets (Pg 81)
    • To assist with effective movement of stock 2 sales per week of lambs per week during the peak season will be held (Pg 82)
  • Losses and theft during the war years is a problem (Pg 81)
  • Gas producers had been fitted to many vehicles to conserve fuel, but Control boards had banned use of some vehicles to conserve tyre rubber (Pg 81)
  • March 25. Meat is gazetted a ‘declared commodity’ in the metropolitan area of Adelaide (Pg 79)
    • Retail and wholesale selling prices of meat are fixed as at the week prior – 18/03/1942 (Pg 79)
    • retail butcher was not allowed to earn a bigger profit markgn that what he earned 30/08/1939
      • It was an offence to sell meat at prices exceeding those charged on that date
      • Beef per pound 5 1/2 pence
      • Mutton per pound 4 3/4 pence
      • Lamb per pound 8 pence
      • Veal per pound 7 pence
  • Metropolitan fixing of meat prices didn’t affect country buyers or those from Melbourne (Pg 80)


  • January 1. Meat rationing commences (Pg 84)
    • Meat held in Freezers wasn’t released back into the metropolitian market for fear of market collapse of prices to producers (Pg 84)
    • Meat rationed to adult is now 2.5 pounds per week
    • Children under 9 were allowed only 1.25 pounds
    • Meat rationing was a complicated process with 6 classes of meat
    • People were issued coupons to surrender to a butcher
      • Sausages, edible offals, canned meats and pigs’ feat were not affected by the restriction and were encouraged to be used (Pg 84)
  • Mutton style sleeves on woman’s dress clothing was also banned to preserve fabric (Pg 84)
  • During war period workers are required to train emergency drills which included wearing gas marks and protective clothing while processing carcases (Pg 76)

TMG Pg 76. 1943

Source. TMG Pg 76. Photo MBL collection

At times during the Second World War, abattoir workers were required to carry out emergency drills. This 1943 photo shows a group of slaughtermen trimming a hindquarter of beef whilst wearing gas masks and protective clothing.

  • Prices rise at Gepps Cross markets for prime stock (Pg 77)
    • Area is currently affected by drought (Pg 77)
  • War period  seen government consider implementation of meat control prices at retail level (Pg 78)
    • Curtin Federal Government ‘War strategy’ meant certain foods would be rationed (Pg 84)
      • Civilian consumption of meat was to reduced by 15% (pg 83)
    • Many believed rationing of meat would be preferrable (Pg 78)
      • rationing would save transport
      • preserve meat supplies
      • reduce corruption and
      • keep inflation in check
  • February 1. Sale of third quality pig meat is restricted (Pg 80)
    • Sale of fresh pork is already prohibited (Pg 80)
  • To stabilise the industry the Australian Meat Industry Commission took responsibility for all surplus pig meat (Pg 80)
    • Producers could continue to sell pigs at auction but prices were fixed (Pg 80)
  • July 28. Commissioner of meat supplies passes a motion that compulsorily acquires one forequarter of each body of beef processed at Gepps Cross that weighs more 400 pounds or more (Pg 81)
    • Compulsorily acquired meat is to be used for canning to supply Britain
    • After several months bull beef is included in the restrictions
    • Veal weighing 251 pounds and over is now classed as beef
    • Producers are urged to market stock in a normal way to allow stock to be available for the services and canning
  • September 15. Further food restrictions and rationing came into effect (Pg 84)
    • Wholesalers and retail butchers were to provide, under statutory declaration amounts of sales for the previous 4 weeks prior to 01/06/1943 (Pg 84)
      • % reduction was based on those figures (Pg 84)
      • onus placed on the butcher to achieve objective of reduced meat use (Pg 84)
      • quotas were based on the Throughput at Gepps Cross and changed weekly (Pg 86)
      • 75% of meat by the butchers to be taken as fresh and 25% frozen (Pg 86)
      • South Australia seemed to be singled out as similar practices were not enforced in any other state (Pg 86)
        • Destroyed confidence in South Australian markets.(Pg 86)
          • Sense of normality to SA markets would not return until the 1950’s (Pg 86)
  • Bacon factories were working at full capacity to process canned goods for the fighting forces and Britain had acute food shortages (Pg 84)
  • To meet supply of the military civilian beef consumption was cut 40% (Pg84)
    • To counter harsh reduction in beef allowed a 12.5% increase in lamb
  • October 11. Fixed number of sheep and lambs allowed for sale at Gepps Cross is 23,000 head (pg 83)
    • All stock to only arrive by rail
    • No private deliveries were allowed or would be unloaded
    • Stock above the number would not be accepted for sale
  • November. Restrictions are placed on delivery of stock from some areas to limit supply as the facilities couldn’t process the animals due to a severe manpower shortage and lack of skilled slaughtermen (Pg 81)
    • many workers had enlisted or joined others to work in munitions factories at Salisbury and Finsbury
  • Only 60 men were operating a chain with a capacity of 71 men (Pg 83)
  • Less stock was being processed and 20,000 sheep had to be railed to Victoria for slaughter (Pg 81)


  • Livestock numbers yarded and sold double the 1913 figures (Pg 5)
  • December 13. compulsory acquisition was extended to all South Australian country meatworks (pg 81)
  • Experiments are conducted in America to produce artificial meat from molasses, ammonia, water, air and yeast (Pg 81)
    • Meat was to be fed to the troops


  • February 26. Australia is experiencing a severe drought and rationing of meat is further reduced (Pg 85)
    • rationing reduced by 8.75%
  • May 7 further rationing cuts of 12% (Pg 85)
  • Country Butchers, previously unrestricted by quotas are also regulated (Pg 86)
  • Restrictions of meat remained in place following the war with limits not removed until 24/06/1948 (Pg 85)
  • May 9. VE (Victory in Europe) Day (Pg 85)
    • War still continues against Japan in the Pacific
  • Price fixing is put in place by the Government to place a ceiling on extremely high stock values at the time due to war and drought (Pg 85)
    • Placement of a ceiling price caused considerable debate


  • October 1. Fixed floor pricing comes in to effect (Pg 86)
    • Stock at Gepps cross are already commandeered (Pg 86)
    • A great deal  of uncertainty surrounded the Gepps Cross markets (Pg 86)


  • Works offices are relocated from in the city centre to Gepps Cross (Pg 60)
  • June 24. Meat restrictions are lifted entirely (Pg 85)


  • March 29. South Australian government take court action to prevent a private company slaughtering stock intended for export  claiming “such killings are prohibited by the Metropolitan and Export Abattoirs Act” (Pg 87)
    • Noarlunga Meat Ltd had slaughtered 150 lambs to export to Britain (Pg 86)
    • Noarlunga Meat were charged, argued that the Act was in conflict with Commonwealth law and therefore invalid
      • Supreme court gave an opinion on point of law in 1955
      • MEAB were more concerned about lose of future export business


  • August. MEAB v’s Noarlunga Meat – Supreme court hearing, text case (Pg 87)
  • August to September a major industrial dispute last 8 weeks, occurs during the court hearing of the test case (Pg 87)
    • During the dispute Noarlunga helped to supply Adelaide with Fresh meat
  • Frequent industrial disputes highlighted the vulnerability of the Gepps Cross works to supply fresh meat during a crisis (Pg 86)
    • Re-organisation of the Metropolitan and Export Abattoirs Act was called for
    • Country meatworks were to be able to freely supply Adelaide with fresh meat


  • Gepps Cross facility diversifies and processes tuna (Pg 60)
    • Refrigerated tanks, areas for gilling, gutting and washing facilities were installed (Pg 60)
    • Fish delivered came from  Port Lincoln (Pg 60)
    • Processed 2,000 tonnes of fish a year (Pg 60)
    • Initially supplied interestate canneries (Pg 60)
      • soon after establishment exported to Japan and the US (Pg 60)
  • For many years at this point Gepps Cross cold stores were the largest in the country
    • Occassionally used to store other products (Pg 60)
      • seed potatoes, egg pulp, polyester resin, apples, dried fruit and cheeses (Pg 60)
      • One year over ripe apricots fermented and had to be cleaned up using emergency equipment (Pg 60)
    • Cold stores were used exclusively for meat from the 1970’s (Pg 60)


  • Last of the workers cottages are demolished (Pg 64)


TMG Pg 166 1973

Source. TMG Pg 166. Photo. D Darlan, Primary Industries and Resources SA
This 1973 view of SAMCOR Aerial magazine shows the Gepps Cross abattoirs and markets complex before the Southern Works was built. Main North Road, looking south, is on the left of the picture and Port Wakefield road is to the right. Gepps Cross intersection is just out of view at the top of the picture. The northern cattle market, yards and sale ring were still in use and can be seen at the bottom right of the photo.


TMG Pg 167 1980's

Source. TMG. Pg 167. Photo Primary Industries and Resources SA.

This 1980’s aerial view looking south compares with the previous  photo. The Southern Works complex can be seen at the top of the picture. An enlarged Southern yards cattle market complex can be seen to the right.

TMG Pg 131 1980's

Source. TMG Pg 131. Photo. Frank Rocca.
The Southern Works beef chain in full operation as seen in  the early 1980’s


  • Elders build a massive feedlot at the The Levels – entrance area to the marketing stockyards to service the live export sheep trade (pg 33)


SA Abattoirs listed.

This is a list of the abattoirs


Kangaroo Island


Peterborough Abattoir (SA). Owned by Samex. Horse meat processor.


Located in South Australia, one of only 2 abattoirs in Australia accredited for export of horse meat. Peterborough also processes camels.

Other Names

  • Samex abattoir1

Current Operation

  • Is currently operating in 2014
  • Establishment #7502
    • Export registered2



 Hema Maps – Australia Truckies atlas.



  • Peterborough and Caboolture (QLD) are Australia’s only licensed horse abattoirs able to export horse meat to European Union (EU) Countries.1
  • Processes Camels.2
    • Under Islamic rites and religious requirements2



  • Samex acquire Peterborough
  • Australian horse meat export industry standards strengthened and approved by the EU1


  • Caboolture (QLD) and Peterborough are currently processing 10,000 – 15,000 camels per year.3
    • Bond Springs (NT) is processing 20 camels per week.3
    • Feral Camel population is estimated to be 250,000-300,000 in the NT3
      • National cull occuring to reduce numbers.3
        • Up to June 2013 about 64,000 camels been culled3
        • with estimates of further 25-30,000 to be culled.3
      • Significant challenges with the supply chain and high transport cost to supply feral camels to abattoirs.3


  • June. Investigation launched by Department of Agriculture in to complaints that horse meat exported from Australian abattoirs for human consumption fails to meet strict EU standards.1
  • Complaint specifically relates to horses bought at Echuca (Victoria) saleyards, some which were sent to Peterborough abattoir
    • All horses processed came with Horse Vendor declarations1
      • Confirms treatment of the horses in previous 6 months1
  • Horse meat industry valued at $10M a year in the past decade1
    • Only 117 tonnes ($830,000 in value) exported to EU in past 12 months.1



  1. ‘Australian horse meat exports in doubt following standards complaint’ ABC News 21.06.2014
  2. Samex website
  3. Alice Springs Rural Review. December 2012.


Other Names


Current Operation

  • Aus Meat Accreditation registration dated 29/12/2015 #1614 – JBS Australia Pty Ltd (Bordertown).8
    • registered as a Sheep export facility.8
  • Direct employment enquiries to www.jbssa.com.au


  • Bordertown is located 270km south east of Adelaide in South Australia

Hema Maps – Australia Truckies atlas.



  • Establishment # 1614
  • Lamb, Hoggets and mutton1
  • Employs 4001
  • Daily capacity 5,200 head1



  • JBS buy plant operations2
  • Invested $6.5M on robotic technology on the kill floor2


  • JBS Australia split into two operating entities to make Northern and Southern regions in relation to abattoirs and feedlots within those areas5.
    • South – Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania5
    • North – NSW and QLD.5


  • Sept. Launches own brand – Great Southern2
  • Oct. Will introduce a second shift of operation2
    • increasing throughput from 4000 to 8000 sheep and lambs a day2
      • current livestock purchases are $140M per year3
      • Utilites including power and water currently $3.1M per year3
    • employing 150- 180 more permanent staff2
      • Wages budget is $25.2M3
      • Extra shift will increase wages by 40%3
      • Extra shift  and business decisions will provide continuity of employment through the year3
    • needed due to improved access to China and increasing demand for high value chilled and frozen lamb in European Union and USA2
    • Looking for financial supportfor on-site cold storage – project costing $12M3
  • Local town looking to improve its houseing and infrastructure to support new workers2
    • Priority to Migrant support servicesand re-opening of Migrant resource centre2
  • High cost of meat processing in Australia was a constant challenge – at about 2.5 times the cost of the US” – and while technology and training added to efficencies, the state and Federal governments need to provide direct financial support to investments such as JBS are making” John Berry ( JBS director)2
  • “..with a high percentage of our product destined for hihgly competitive international markets and competing against animal proteins from around the world” John Berry (JBS)2
  • Installation of automated prcessing technology3
    • $6.5M – x-ray primal saw machine in boning room3
      • determines dimensions of major bones before moving along the chain past rotating blades, cuts the carcase into forequarter, middle, loin and leg sections3
      • Process up to 10 lambs a minute3
      • cutting tolerance of 5mm3
      • is just one of two machines in Australia3
  • Middle machine will be first of its kind in Australia when installed.3
  • November. JBS Swift Australia install closed-circuit television camera’s (CCTV) in it’s Australian meatworks.10
    • For the purpose of animal welfare and meatworker safety issues.10
    • CCTV for internal use by only JBS, with no plans to allow outsiders to view the footage.10
  • JBS’s US beef division (which includes Australia) delivered drop in net sales and earnings in it’s third quarter financial results.10
    • Australia’s division performance and overall contribution to the overall result is impossible to distinguish due to inclusion with US and Canadian beef processing results.10
    • Earnings before tax $134M,.10
      • Down by 22.5% on previous quarter.10
      • Down by 28.4% on third quarter last year.10
    • result reflection of domestic North American markets.10
      • Improved performance had occured in Australian.10
        • Demand had increased in Chinese markets.10


  • July. Expected to replace two dimensional x-ray imagery with Dual Energy Xray Absorption (DEXA)4
    • Will find the skeleton but at the same time produces a lean meat yeild estimate4
  • July. JBS Australia across all facilities in operation kills daily5
    • 8,500 cattle,5
    • 24,000 smalls – which includes lambs5
    • Employs more than 8,000 people5
  • July. JBS Australia purchase majority shareholding in NSW based Andrew Meat.11
    • specialise in high quality, portion cutting and further processing of meats for domestic and international restaurant and foodservice customers.11
    • produce ready-cooked meals.11
    • company banner Creative Food Solutions.11
    • Andrew Meat will allow JBS expansion into high growth retail and value-adding segments.11
  • Expansion of the Andrew Meats business will start in November .12
    • JBS global strategy to expand into value added meat protein – opportunity to expand margins.12
    • JBS have an existing value-added division – Food Partners.12
      • supplies food service customers like Pizza Hut and Domino’s with toppings.12
    • Andrew Meats focus will be produce ready meals.12
      • ‘grab & go’ beef roasts, designed to compete head on with hot cabinet roast chickens sold in supermarkets.38
      • Domestic markets were very immature but also with significant growth potential.12
  • At this time JBS operate.11
    • 10 processing facilities.11
      • Daily processing capacity of more than 8,000 cattle and 21,000 small stock.11
    • 5 feedlots.11
  • December. JBS currently operate 12 meat processing plants across 5 Australian states6
    • Wages & local procurement $730M (Excluding livestock purchases)6
    • Employs 8,500 people at the facilities6
      • Employs 12,000 people in Australia6
    • Total revenue of $6.5B6
  • JBS plants 2014_edited-1

    JBS processing plants in Australia

    Source JBS submission #50 Market Consolidation.

    • JBS estimates its current share of four eastern states beef kill – 20% (excludes service kill)6
      • JBS share of Australian beef production 16%6
      • Market share of national small (lamb, mutton & goat) 16%
    • JBS spent $2.4M on halal certification costs of approved religious certifiers in 20146


    • June. Cost of processing in Australia 1.5-3 times the cost of processing animals in another country6
    • cost of processing grain-fed cattle in Australia is twice of the USA6
      • lower levels of productivity in Australia in regards to kg per unit of labour6
      • 2 major differences between Australia and the USA6
        1. Government regulation
          • $10 a head more in Australia6
          • Dept. of Australian Agriculture fully recover costs of meat export inspection and certification6
            • Australia wide DAFF costs $80M6
            • JBS contribute $14.5M6
          • Export plants don’t use DAFF but use approved employees, which plants fully cover costs6
            • JBS estimate an additional $30M at Export level6
          • USA & Brazil governments provide services at no or minimal costs to processors6
        2. Energy Costs
          • $15 a head more in Australia6
      • Technical barriers to trade (TBT’s)- Total value in Australia estimated at $1.25B as identified costs6
        • 261 TBT’s in 40 key markets6
          • 136 have significant trade distortion impacts6
  • July. The following charts are from a submission by the Australian government Department of Agriculture to the Senate rural and regional affairs and transport references committee inquiry into Market consolidation and the red meat processing sector.
  • T2 Throughput state beef_edited-1

    Share of throughput by state for beef in 2014. Pg 16

    T4 processing companies market share_edited-1

    Major Processing companies by market share May 2015. Pg 16

    M4 direct cattle movements NLIS QLD_edited-1

    Cattle Movements to abattoirs. Pg 25

    F12 hourly labour costs food manufacturing_edited-1

    Hourly labour costs for food manufacturing industry Pg 30

  • December. ATO publishes tax data for agribusiness corporates.7
    • Data interpretation – Companies do not pay company tax on revenue (total income) they pay on profits after paying all expenses, including wages, capital replacement, supplier costs and other operating expenses.7
    • Income tax information is for 2013/14.7
    • JBS Holdco Australia Pty Ltd produced Total Income $4,040,948,610.7
      • Taxable Income $419,882,525.7
        • Tax Payable $44,809,334.7

Sources Bordertown – SA. JBS

  1. ‘Our plants – Bordertown’ http://www.jbsswift.com.au Accessed 13.11.2013
  2. ‘Second shift at JBS meatworks’ Stock Journal 03.10.2013
  3. ‘Robot Revolution’ Stock Journal 17.10.2013
  4. ‘Technologies take quantum leap’ The Land 24.07.2014
  5. ‘The next Swift Shift’ Weekly Times 30.07.2014
  6. sub50_JBS Inquiry into the effect of market consolidation on the red meat processing sector
  7. ‘ATO publishes tax data for agribusiness corporates’ Beef Central 18.12.2015
  8. AUS-MEAT Accreditation Listing 29.12.2015
  9. ‘Swift CCTV camera action’ Weekly Times 13.11.2013
  10. ‘JBS delivers lower third quarter beef sales, revenue’ Beef Central 14.11.2013
  11. ‘JBS takes stake in Andrews Meat’ www.farmonline.com.au 09.07.2014
  12. ‘What’s behind JBS taking a big stake in Andrews Meat Value adding Businnes? Beef Central 10.07.2014

Kangaroo Island (SA)

Other Names

  • KI Abattoir

Current Operation

  • Closed – 19981



  • Samex Australian Meat Company, Managing Director – Rob Black. Purchased early 20131


  • Previously had operated seasonally for 5-6 months of the year2
  • Would require a combined throughput of 5000 sheep and lambs each week over a 9-10 month period to sustain the operation1



  • Samex Australian Meat Company purchased1
  • May. discussion with producerson ability to commit to supply, producers were able to do 100,000 lambs but thought 200,000 was unrealistic1
  • Samex not looking for investors but commitment from growers to support2
  • Current production was required to be changed from over a 4-5 month period to 9-10 month1


  1. ‘KI abattoir Interest grows’ The Land. 02.05.13
  2. ‘Crunch time for Kangaroo Island abattoir’ The Islander 09.04.13.

Murray Bridge

 Current Operation

  • Accredited to AUS-MEAT
    • Establishment Number 0533.


Australia. Murray Bridge16.06.13

Map Murray Bridge


  • (1999)T & R (Murray Bridge) Pty Ltd   www.tandrpastoral.com.au
  • Thomas and Rowe Families. (2008 Thomas’s bought out Rowe’s)
  • Thomas Foods International (name change from T & R)March 2013.4


  • Export abattoir
  • Beef, sheep, goats1
  • T & R is the largest family-owned multi species export processor, with 120,000 sheep and lambs + 5000 cattle processed across 3 states each week3
  • Also own abattoirs Lobethal (SA), Tamworth (NSW), Wallangarra (NSW)3
  • T & R is biggest lotfeeder in SA – 6500 cattle on-feed Wanderribby Feedlot, Meningie3
  • Headquarters based at Murray Bridge3
  • Purchased 50% share of diversified wholesaler/distributor Holco meat5
  • Turnover of $1.3B, is nations largest lamb and mutton exporter and significant beef, exports 80% to more than 80 countries5
  • 80% of beef is value added – Brand labels – Country Fresh, FoodComm (USA) & Holco3





  • District ratepayers vote against a proposal, conducted at a recent council election, to establish a district abattoir at Murray Bridge.66
    • For 466 votes, Against 845 votes.66


  • March 2.High court in Melbourne ruled that South Australia (MEAB Gepps Cross (SA)) could not challenge the validity of the commonwealth regulations in regards to being sole authority of meat export in that state (Pg 88).8
  • July 4. Privy court in London ruled South Australia’s claim was invalid to be sole authority of slaughter of stock for meat export in that state (Pg 88).8
  • Noarlunga Abattoir (SA) victory in the courts effectively spelt the end of the monopoly held by Gepps Cross works and saw a number of other abattoirs begin operation with a view to export meat (Pg 89).8


  • Meat Trader RK Bartholomew and trade Buyer RF Hooper purchase Murray Bridge Meatworks(Pg 89).8
    • RK Bartholomew of Bartholomew Meat, Lobethal
    • RF Hooper of Murray Bridge


  • Owners of Murray Bridge hold talks with councillors and business people to expand the works
    • Intend to process per year (Pg 89).8
      • 250,000 sheep and lambs
      • 25,000 cattle
      • 10,000 calves
    • Would use Charles David Pty Ltd (Sydney based) for business administration and export services
  • Expansion of the Murray Bridge site would reduce the number of animals transported to Victoria for processing (Pg 89).8


  • T & R at this time are part owners of Murray Bridge with Adelaide Steamship subsidiary Metro Meat.27
    • Adsteam went broke and sold their share to Chinese investment conglomerate Citic.27


  • Abattoir facilities purchased by T & R3.
  • T & R buy the Chinese share (Citic), having to make a decision to sell with them or buy them out27
  • T & R purchase the Murray Bridge abattoir from Citic Australia10
    • At this time the facility employed 250 people10.


  • Darren Thomas becomes CEO of T & R.27
    • Mr Darren Thomas is the son of the part owner of T & R, Chris Thomas.27
    • Bob Rowe owns share of T & R27
  • Chronic labour shortage in meat industry and meat processors are accused of using 457 temporary visa programs to bring in skilled labour but underpaying and using the people for other work positions.6
      • Visas granted to industries nationwide (not only meat processors) jumped 40% from previous year.6
    • Freeze was placed on 457 Visa applications to meatworks by Government over concerns of breach’s of conditions. – Delays are said to be hampering meatwork operations6
      • lack of employees have some processors throwing product away rather than be processed due to lack of labour and is causing missed opportunities in export markets6
  • 457 Visa means worker must stay with employer for 4 years, Meant to meet criteria of skilled slaughtermen and only used for that position, not as unskilled labourers, boners.6
  • Recruitment companies find the workers and match to employer, usually the employer finds accommodation and deducts rent and travel from workers salaries – AMIEU claim exorbitant rents are being charged1
  • Union complaining that 457 Visas workers. “Workers who are being brought into Australia are in many cased being exploited, are being abused , and not being paid correctly and being misused at work” Graham Bird AMIEU6
  • Cranbourne abattoir (Vic) employ 20 Chinese workers – they are bussed to the abattoir from homes rented by the company, all 457 visas. – Cranbourne say its operations are all above board6
  • Murray Bridge abattoir is subject of investigation into whether it is using visa holders to do other jobs6
  • Subject of Government investigation, if 457 Visa holders are doing other jobs.6
  • Western Australia had 36 Investigations, 80% of employers found to be in breach of conditions and WA department of employment protection recovered $200,000 in underpayment of wages (Authors note – article didn’t specify if across all industries or only meat processing)6
  • T & R subscribe to 457 visa program for 457 standard business visa’s and 457 visa’s under Labour agreements across its’ 3 production facilities16


  • Thomas’s buy out the full share of the Rowes holdings in T & R.27
    • Bob Rowe is currently 72.27
  • Murray Bridge is currently processing 3,000 sheep and lambs and 300 cattle a day27


  • T & R purchase a 50% share of Foodcomm International10.
    • Foodcomm International operated primarily in the USA10


  • Major refurbishment of plant – Capacity 700 cattle, 8000 lambs a day5
  • Cutting edge technology – loin, leg and trunk lamb boning machines, site prepares value added product5.
  • USDA accredited, contracts approved for McDonalds, Burger King, Woolworths and Coles5.
  • January. A new product brand is launched – Thomas Farms Meat.10
  • July. Turnover for 2009 / 2010 $800M10.
    • T & R is the largest Australian-owned meat business10
    • At this time many other processors had been struggling but T & R has continued to expand into domestic and export markets10.
      • High Australian dollar and tough economic conditions globally10
    • Exports for the 2009 / 2010 period totalled $600M10
  • South Australia processed more lambs than New South Wales for the first time ever10.
  • T & R currently employ 16 livestock buyers10
    • Don’t rely on the auction system, apart from top-ups10.
      • Allows a more consistent supply of livestock for processing10
  • T & R currently employ about 1,600 people across two facilities of Murray Bridge and Lobethal (SA).10
  • T & R has recently purchased NSW Country Fresh Australia on July 5, 201010.
    • T & R now employ 2,000 people nationally10
    • Daily capacity of 26,000 sheep and lambs and 800 cattle10.
  • Darren Thomas, T & R Chief Executive predicts a prosperous 5 years ahead for the industry10


  • Organic processing. 80-300 head a week.


  • February. Receive $3.25M carbon abatement grants – Clean technology allocations2
  • Project cost $9.744 involving 4 sub projects – reduce emissions by 29% saving $1.1M year
  1. convert single meal processing line into 2 higher efficiency streams
  2. replace 4 natural gas fired boilers with 2 new boiler packages using LPG and biogas
  3. replace current blood drier with more energy efficient one
  4. replace current odour burners with bio filter2.
  • March.  Changing brand and identity – Now Thomas Foods International (TFI)
  • July. Facility is evacuated due to a liquid ammonia leak in the roof.12
  • October. Bob Rowe, Founder of T & R dies13
    • Bob and a partner Alan Turner had established T & R Pastoral, a livestock trading operation in the 1970’s13
  • TFI purchase potato producer – Mondello farms38
    • Mondello had gone into receivership early in 2013.38
      • Mondello had undertaken rapid expansion, but also had a price squeeze on potatoes in the supermarkets27
    • One of Australia’s biggest growers and packers of potatoes38
    • Revenue of $50 – $60M, based in Adelaide38
  • New beef kill floor had been completed this year17


  • March. Announcement is made of plans to spend $30M on a wastewater-based biogas generation and utilisation project and upgrades at Murray Bridge37.
    • $10M wastewater storage treatment facility37
      • 2 covered lagoons, producing 8,000 cubic metres of methane daily37
      • Gas used to offset natural gas use in the facility37
        • Generate 30% of the facilities energy requirements.14
        • reduce carbon emissions by 6,800 metric tonnes of CO2 per year14
      • Capacity to store 4ML of water a day37
        • 120 ha or surrounding pastures irrigated.37
        • Storage lagoons will be 5 times larger in size than the Adelaide Oval.14
    • $11M sustainable energy program.37
      • Two 10 megawatt dual-fuel boilers.37
      • reduce carbon emissions under the Federal Governments Clean Technology Investment Program (CTIP)37
      • T & R contributed $7M while receiving $3M for this project.37
  • “We see it as vital to our future growth in the global red meat industry that we continue to innovate and to be an efficient processor promoting world’s best practice and hygiene, health and safety” Mr David McKay. TFI director of operations.14
    • $5M upgrade to the Beef plant component of Murray Bridge37
      • Increase the output of the facility by 25%27
      • State Regional Development to contribute $2.5M64
      • Improvements to create 200 jobs.64
    • $5.5M expansion to the lairage facilities, holding yards and receive yards.37
      • Setting benchmarks for animal welfare standards37
  • T & R current director of operations. David McKay37
  • T & R facilities across Australia currently processes 120,000 lambs and sheep, and 5,000 cattle per week37
  • T & R reveals it knocks back offers almost weekly from foreign companies and foreign investors looking to buy its booming business15
  • T & R want to stay locally, family and Australian-owned15
    • Increasingly difficult to raise enough capital within Australia to fund the companies expansion.15
  • Thomas Food International (TFI) currently process 6,000 cattle and 120,000 lambs and sheep a week.15
    • Plans to launch its own line of branded lamb and beef in Australia within the next 6 months.15
  • April. T & R purchase a 50% share of Holco Meat, wholesale / distributor.63
    • T & R and Holco had a long term relationship of working together.63
    • Holco has an annual turnover of $130M63.
    • Holco will distribute T & R’s Country Fresh branded products63
    • Holco deliver fresh beef, chicken, lamb and pork to restaurants, cafes, supermarkets, commercial caterers, mining sites and healthcare organisations.63
  • T & R currently have a turnover of $1.3B63
    • Australia’s largest lamb and mutton exporter and a significant beef exporter.63
    • 80% of produce is exported to 80 different countries.63
      • One third of exports are high-value grass-fed beef and lamb to US markets.15
        • Generates revenue of $300M38
        • $20M being currently spent on improvements in facilities in Philadelphia38
  • T & R currently operate 4 abattoirs, including Murray Bridge,63
  • T & R currently employ 2,500 people, Holco will add a further 300 employees63
    • TFI had worked hard with unions to keep  labour costs of employees down15
    • 150 Chinese workers had been brought into the facility on 457 visas.15
      • Importing of workers had been very good with many bringing their families and growing up in Murray Bridge area15
  • Murray Bridge facility has current capacity for 700 cattle, 800 lambs a day63
    • Is USDA and EU-accredited.63
    • Has approved contracts with McDonalds, Burger King, Woolworths and Coles.63
  • Darren Thomas, TFI chief executive warns of other food business’s becoming pre-occupied with China and it’s food demand growth predictions.15
    • TFI had found other markets more profitable and easier to trade with15
  • TFI has a war chest of $100M for further acquisitions in the food industry and to bolster overall business.38
  • TFI have annual turnover approaching $1.6B38
  • There would be further rationalisation in the meat processing industry in Australia in a low-margin, high-volume sector where size is becoming increasingly important to extract economies of scale38
  • July. Thomas foods encouraging adoption of Individual Electronic identification (IED) of sheep7
  • Note NLIS is compulsory for cattle in Australia but currently mob identification is acceptable for sheep.7
  • Sheep IED costly, $0.83 per head in Victoria – where it is subsidised but $1.10 per tag in other states.7
  • European Union all ready do IED, could force onto Australian producers7
    • highly likely in the next 3-5 years7
  • TFI anticipate an increase of sales growth above 10% in the 2014/2015 period.38
  • TFI have subscribed to 457 visa programme since 2006.16
    • Visa program has delivered significant frustrations across the business.16
      • Temporary Skilled Migration income Threshold (TSMIT) is too high and is higher than local enterprise agreements (ETA) creating an unfair balance between local workforce and rates established under ETA’s16
      • Most meat process workers are having difficulties in passing an English language requirements.16
        • TFI are not able to attract and recruit appropriately skilled people.16
      • TFI suggest that a condition of visa be that the worker must stay with nominated employer for the whole of the duration of the visa16
        • poaching is occurring of workers which increases costs of recruitment, retention and training.16


  • January. Regional development fund contribute $2.5M to the Murray Bridge new boning facility upgrades.64
  • Upgrades are nearing completion.64
    • Stage 1 was to the boning room.64
      • Enabled incorporation of cutting edge technology, increased shelf life and processing efficiency.17
      • Single chain using side chain boning. Believed to the first time this full process has been used in an Australian red meat plant.17
      • Extensive use of CIP (Clean In Place) belts in the conveyor system17
    • Stage 2 and 3 will be to fit out value-adding area and increase chilling capacity64
      • Latest technology in refrigeration, conveyor systems, sortation, vacuum packaging and hygiene.17
        • 3 large rotary sealed air cryovac machines installed17
      • Unique feature is an industry first Trim sortation that used analyse to specific meat grades that allowed further value adding along the chain.17
        • Allows for blending / mixing facility and multi batching the product.17
        • Allows a large scale production facility to package to the highest value by blending up.17
      • Purpose built air handling facility that allows constant room temperature that is well-filtered, clean and efficent17
      • 2 large plate freezers to be installed near the end of the year17
  • Upgrades are expected to cost $25.4M64

BC 20.03.2015

New Beef boning room at Murray Bridge

Source –‘TFI’s new Murray Bridge boning room re-sets standards for processing’ Beef Central 20.03.2015.

  • March. First shift in the new boning room occurs.17
    • New facility if built directly below the plants existing lamb boning room that was built in 2010.17
    • Project has been in the planning and construction for 2 years.17
    • Expansion has not compromised the plant’s lamb kill which is currently 11,000 head a day.17
    • Only a week missed between the last boning day in the old facility to starting in the new.17
  • Murray Bridge now likely to employ about 1,550 people17
  • The new Beef line will increase to an intended 1,200 head per day.17
    • Moving from a two-shift daily boning on the old boning room capable of 850 head a day to a single shift in the new boning room with a capacity of 1,200 head per day over a 6 day week.17
    • the original boning room will be re-purposed with half to additional chiller capacity and remainder and expanded and improved value added facility17
  • TFI is the largest private employer in the regional area.17
  • July. TFI revenue now about $1.5B18
  • TFI is operating 4 abattoirs, processing 7,200 cattle and 131,000 small stock a week plus service kills through Casino (NSW).18
    • Also had 40,000 cattle on feed at Wanderribby feedlot at Meningie, Iranda feedlot at Tintinara and Myola feedlot in NSW18
  • TFI had managed to continue to grow against mass abattoir rationalisation and a plummeting national sheep flock18
  • TFI have spent $300M over 15 years to improve efficiency and environmental sustainability of its plants18
  • AMIEU delegate, Greg Mitchell tells a Senate Inquiry into 457 Visas that;
    1. half of the abattoir staff at Murray Bridge are backpackers or on 457 Visa workers.19
    2. That 5 employment companies supply the workers and underpay them.19
    3. Workers are charged $400 employment fee and accommodation costs.19
  • TFI’s Chief Operating Officer David Mckay denied the ‘outrageous accusations’19
    • The company was forced to turn to international labour because “Some Australians lack the work ethic, or failed drug tests at recruitment” D. McKay.19
    • TFI had been allocated 140 workers on 457 visa’s, he didn’t know how many were backpackers but denied it was as high as 60019


  • March. Magistrates Court of SA finds a labour hire employer who supplied a worker to Murray Bridge guilty of failing to provide a safe system of work, failure to provide information, instruction, training and supervision after a worker had suffered severe burns from caustic soda.20
    • Employer was convicted and fined $240,00020
  • April. TFI release media advert looking for employees.21
  • TFI across the group now employ nearly 3,000 people21
  • May. TFI release media advert looking for employees22
  • November. Foodbank, a relief organisation for people in need announce a partnership between TFI and Fletcher International Exports to expand the meat program that enables Foodbank to supply 800,000 sausages annually to people25


  • April. TFI join the Pasturefed Cattle Assurance System (PCAS)39
    • PCAS is an assurance program that enables industry to prove claims relating to pasturefed or grassfed production methods. www.pcaspasturefed.com.au
  • TFI are currently processing 120,000 sheep, goats and lambs per week and 5,000 cattle across Australia.39
    • Australian and 85 overseas destinations.39
  • June. South Australia power prices to rise to the highest in the world40
    • An Adelaide plastics recycling company announced it was forced into liquidation due to power prices that seen its monthly bills increase from $80,000 to $180,000 over the last 18 months.40
  • July. One of the TFI plants is included in a suspension list of facilities that supply meat to China, due to labelling concerns.30
    • Lifting of China’s suspension doesn’t get resolved until October 31, 2017.
    • 6 plants delisted had supplied 30% of Australian exports to China.
    • Loss of the trade is estimated at $1M per day.
  • September. Malaysia suspends imports of meat from 3 Australian Facilities.30
    • Included TFI30
  • November. TFI announce forward lamb contract for Murray Bridge and Lobethal.41
    • 18-32 kg cross bred lambs delivered December to March.41
      • Requirements of 2-5 score paying 600-620c/kg41
      • Minimum consignment of 100 head.41
    • Merino lambs 590c /kg to the end of January 2018.41
      • Reducing to 570c/kg. after that.41
    • TFI were offering 50c/kg upside to give producers market confidence.41
  • TFI purchase 1.5 year old first cross ewes for their own property production near Millicent.65
    • TFI Pay a record $366 per head for sheep.65
  • Chris Thomas views on future opportunities for Australian Beef;43
    1. Niche products, brands and programs will be where the value exists as the way red meat is sold changes rapidly and consumer demand evolves.43
    2. Vertically integrated, collaborative supply chains is the only way the advanced level of traceability and quality can be delivered, with the flow of factual, genuine information to the consumer.43
    3. There is an over capacity of processing space compared to the number of livestock in Australia and herd rebuilding will be constantly challenged by competing uses of land and environmental constraints.43
    4. Processors are moving further down the value chain into meal solutions, e-commerce, aged care sector, advancements in food safety and even alternatives to meat.43
    5. Employees and the availability of skilled labour, remains the single largest constraint on growth for the processing sector.43
  • Murray Bridge is currently processing 55,000 sheep and lambs and 5,000 cattle per week.43
  • Murray Bridge is capable of processing 11,000 small stock and 1200 head of cattle per day.44
    • Lobethal (SA)processes 25,000 sheep/lambs/goats a week43
    • Tamworth (NSW) processes 50,000 sheep/lambs /goats a week43
    • Wallangarra (QLD) is currently dormant43
    • Mandurah (WA) is currently dormant.43


  • January 3. Murray Bridge plant is engulfed in fire.44
    • Fire was started by a welding spark during routine maintenance near a ‘highly combustible wall (foam insulated panelling)’44
      • Fire containment was difficult due to starting in the basement and ran in to the thick foam linings of the walls, making it almost impossible to extinguish32
    • No livestock or staff were injured due the fire.44
    • Major damage has occurred to the beef and lamb boning room44
  • Facility is fully insured but it could take atleast 12 – 18 months for reconstruction to occur.44
    • Facility is valued at more than $200M35
    • Killfloor, freezing and chilling infrastructure remain intact and in serviceable condition.44
      • Possible animal carcases could be transported to other facilities for processing but raises issues of regulatory and licensing.44
      • Likely Lobethal will absorb some of the small stock capacity of Murray Bridge with a double shift and workers transferred there.44
      • Cattle would likely be processed at another facility interstate.44

Farm online #2 05.01.2018. Peri Strathearn

Murray Bridge abattoir on fire  04/01/2018. Source  Farm Online 04.01.2018.

Adelaide advertiser 04.01.2018

Murray Bridge abattoir on fire 04/01/2018 Source Adelaide Now. 08.01.2018

  • Murray Bridge release a media statement thanking staff and for their actions during evacuation and safe relocation of stock.46
    • Staff will not be allowed to return to the site until the area has been declared safe.46
    • Alternative processing arrangements across the group operations is being made.46
    • Damage is still being assessed to plan the necessary repairs.46

11.1.2018. The land

Murray Bridge abattoir fire. Source. The Land. 11.01.2018

  • January 8. Murray Bridge release a media statement explaining considerations to assist employees affected by the fire at the facility47
    • Management has met with AMIEU to work collaboratively to ensure best outcomes for staff.47
    • Approximately 1,400 people are employed at the facility
      • 900 are permanent53
    • Murray Bridge workforce will be on leave for 2 weeks effective 08/01/2018 as company works through redeployment strategies.47
      • Some employees have been moved to Lobethal (SA)31
    • Labour Hire agencies have been contacted and ceased the temporary employment for 417 visa workers.47
      • Specialised 457 work visas are not affected31
      • Backpackers, seasonal workers have been dismissed.31
        • Thought to be less than half of the 1400 workforce31
    • Numerous offers of employment/assistance have been received from numerous organisations, including government47
    • Access to the site as yet has not been allowed.47
    • Fire is deemed as to have been accidental.47
    • Final damage bill is expected to be tens of millions of dollars.31
  • The fire is still smoldering in places as a clean up begins.48
  • January 11. Murray Bridge release a media statement explaining some redeployment of it’s staff.48
    • Tamworth (NSW)  and Lobethal (SA) plants will increase in production with increase in staff at those facilities48
      • AMIEU Newcastle based official claims no Murray Bridge employees would go to Tamworth50
      • Federal & state governments were assisting with access to Centrelink payments and rent assistance50
    • Wallangarra plant will remain closed.48
    • Rebuilding of the Murray Bridge facility is the long term focus.48

Farm online. #2 Chris Picton

Murray Bridge Fire damage. Source. Farm online. 04.01.2018

Farm online. Chris Picton

Murray Bridge fire damage. Source Farm online. 04.01.2018

  • TFI continue to purchase livestock for processing in auction markets in Victoria.50
    • reassures price support for the general value of livestock in the market.50
    • As yet the loss of Murray Bridge processing has not had a discernable effect on the meat industry.50
    • TFI wouldn’t move away from SA suppliers of livestock as it rebuilds Murray Bridge.50
    • Stock from Southern Victoria are being sent to Tamworth, Stock from Eyre Peninsula have been sent to QLD.50
    • It is intended that TFI will continue to purchase livestock and cause minimal disruption to the market.50
  • JBS and Teys in South Australia advertise for workers at their facilities.51
    • Teys, Naracoorte offered to take about 30 workers.32
  • Bindaree (NSW), Inverell advertise in the local SA papers for workers to move to their site and offer to assist TFI relocate some workers.51
  • South Australian government has set up a taskforce to help with the recovery process.32
  • Many of the TFI workers are Chinese on 457 skilled migrant workers visa’s.51
  • TFI want to retain their permanent workers for when Murray Bridge re-opens. 51
    • Lobethal was thought to be able to take about 20% of these workers51
    • AMIEU deemed Tamworth was not able to take any Murray Bridge workers but Bindaree possibly could.51
  • TFI may be negotiating with two Victorian abattoirs to process cattle32
    • O’Conners at Pakenham (Vic)32
    • Australian Meat Group at Dandenong (Vic)32
  • TFI may be able to slaughter and chill at Murray Bridge despite the fire, but needs other facilities to bone carcases.32
    • depends on meeting safety and health requirements.32
  • TFI major contracts are with Woolworths.32
    • Woolworths said there was no pressure on domestic meat supplies due to ability of the national network of meat processors to process meat.32
    • Rival meat processors were ready to fill the void if TFI didn’t supply.32
    • TFI held two weeks of meat supply, indicating it would not have trouble filling contracts.32
  • January 13. Fire at Murray Bridge abattoir is extinguished. 9 days after it started.52
  • State Government are considering ways to assist Lobethal (SA) facility to accelerate approval for access by B-double trucks to allow increase in production due to movement of stock for processing from Murray Bridge.52
    • A $14M had been underway to improve the roads between Palmer and Lobethal to allow better access to B-Doubles.52
  • January 24. Murray Bridge release a media statement regarding employment53.
    • Approximately 1,400 people were employed at the site prior to the fire
      • 900 are permanent staff.53
    • 340 Murray Bridge employees have begun work at Lobethal (SA)53
      • Another 70 positions to be made available in the short term53
      • Lobethal will double it’s production levels.53
    • 150 positions are being created at the Tamworth (NSW) plant, effective immediately53
      • This is in addition to current recruiting in place for locals at Tamworth.53
      • Tamworth will increase it’s production by 20%53
    • 90 staff remain at Murray Bridge working in specialist areas not affected by the fire.53
  • Other staff were able to be employed through a deal with Hillgrove copper and gold company.35
    • Hillgrove required staff for 2 years and agreed to employ some of the Murray Bridge staff on the agreement they return to Murray Bridge abattoir for employment when it is rebuilt, in 2 years35
  • Approximately 500 casual, backpacker or 417 Visa workers have been let go.
  • TFI have met with the insurers, now consideration is being given to the initial planning stages of a rebuild.53
    • Rebuild is expected to take between 12-24 months.53
    • Demolition work at the site has begun.53
  • February. State Government approve a grant of $1.8M to TFI to retain 50 jobs.57
    • Regional Development Fund grant is being offered to support a $5.5M project that will see the Lobethal site expanded.57
      • Expansion is expected to be completed in 30 weeks (Approximately November 2018)57
        • Increase the Lobethal plant freezing capacity.33
          • Ability to handle 3,000 cartons per day.33
  • TFI place a full page thank-you notice in the South Australian Newspaper Stock Journal58
    • Double production shifts at Lobethal (SA)58
    • Lifted Tamworth (NSW) production by 20%58
    • Sourced additional beef processing in Victoria.58
    • TFI is still seeking small stock or beef supplies from producers.58
  • March. TFI may replace the fire affected Murray Bridge facility to a greenfield site if necessary.33
    • TFI have been working with insurers and intend to rebuild the plant at it’s original location or another site if necessary.33
    • Small stock production is almost to the levels they were before the fire in January 2018.33
      • Lobethal and Tamworth are both working 6 day kills with double shifts33
  • All 900 permanent employees were offered positions34
  • G & K O’Conners, Pakenham, Victoria is processing 1,000 cattle a week so TFI can meet contracts and Woolworths service kills.34
    • Rumours suggested TFI may be engaging with take-over talks with O’Conners have been dismissed by TFI36
  • The TFI claim for Murray Bridge is the single biggest claim of insurance outside of mining for over a decade34
    • Confident of a payment to be received but as at 31/03/2018 there is no payment yet35
  • Some cattle contracts have had to be abandoned in the hope they will return when the facility is rebuilt.35
  • April. Meat processor insurance premiums are reported to be on the rise.36
    • 2 catastrophic abattoir fires over the past 18 months, Murray Bridge in January 2018 and Swickers Pork, Queensland in 2017.36
    • 2 large export processors confirmed they face rises in insurance costs for fire protection36
  • September. Fair Work Commission ruled that employees stood down with out pay after their annual leave ran out was neither fair or reasonable.60
    • Employee had been asked to take his annual leave on January 11 following the fire at the facility. Once his annual leave ran out he was to be stood down but then accepted a temporary role at Lobethal. He was asked by TFI to take a 35% pay reduction. The employee went on stress leave that expired on March 6.60
      • Taken into account was the fact of the fire as catastrophic and TFI dealing with extreme human resource challenge of dealing with over 1,000 employees, insurance, government, customers and media.60
      • Fair work commission deemed that by March 5 the loss of production was apparent and would be likely until the facility was rebuilt.60
      • It was unfair that the employee was stood down without pay some 4 months after the incident with no sign or prospect that the stand-down be brought to an end.60
      • TFI are to pay the employee an amount equal to his redundancy entitlements, any leave owed, plus full pay since March 6. This was about $20,000.60


  • January. TFI are close to a decision to rebuild or relocate the Murray Bridge facility.61
    • A greenfield site has been identified in the Murray Bridge area.61
      • Last 3 months have been spent preparing a feasibility study61
  • TFI has continued to grow internationally.61
    • Opened an office in Japan61
    • Increasing presence in China61
    • Expanding operations in the US61
    • Entering into equity partnership with Luiten Food in the Netherlands.61
      • This would be central sales and distribution centre for Europe and UK.61

Sources – Murray Bridge.

  1.  AUS_MEAT Accreditation list 14.01.13
  2. ‘Teys, T & R in latest round of carbon abatement grants’ Beef Central 18.02.13
  3. ‘SA processor T & R beefs up its business’ Beef Central 13.02.13
  4. ‘New face for T & R reflects changing nature of the business’ Beef Central. 22.03.13.
  5. ‘T & R takes 50pc stake in Holco business’ Beef Central 19.10.12
  6. ‘Meat Industry accused of exploiting foreign workers’ ABC 7.30 report 31.07.2006
  7. ‘EID drives repeat lamb market sales’ Stock Journal 17.07.2014
  8. ‘The Meat Game – A history of the Gepps Cross Abbattoirs and Livestock Markets’ Richard Maurovic
  9. http://thomasfoods.com/
  10. Adelaide Now. ‘$800M turnover puts Murray Bridge meat processors T & R in prime Position’ 20.07.2010
  11. https://www.beefcentral.com/processing/robotics-project-turns-boners-into-androids/
  12. Adelaide Now. ‘Meatworks evacuated, workers in hospital after ammonia leat at Murray Bridge’ 03.07.2013
  13. ‘Vale, Bob Rowe’ Beef Central 10.10.2013
  14. ‘TFI forges ahead with $30M plan’ Stock Journal 24.03.2014
  15. ‘Processor succeeds with risks, 457 visas’ The Australian 27.03.2014
  16. TFI submission for Independent review of 457 visa programme. 30.04.2014
  17. ‘TFI’s new Murray Bridge boning room re-sets standards for processing’ Beef Central 20.03.2015
  18. ‘Meat success tied to trends’ Farmonline 09.07.2015
  19. ‘TFI accused of abusing and bullying workers’ Weekly Times 21.07.2015
  20. Court case. Boland V’s Big Mars Pty Ltd. 17.03.2016. SAIRC 11.
  21. Career Opportunities at TFI. www.thomasfoodscareers.com. April 2016
  22. TFI eyes local job seekers. www.thomasfoodscareers.com 06.05.2016
  23. TFI kicks goals for Lobethal football club. TFI website. 09.05.2016
  24. Foodbank award. TFI website. 10.11.2016
  25. ‘Iranda Beef feedlot grows to 15,000 plus head’ Stock Journal 28.12.2016
  26. ‘The meat and potatoes of Australia’s dining boom’ The Australian 17.04.2014
  27. TFI-HILLGROVE. media statement Feb.2018. pdf
  28. ‘China lifts ban on Australian beef plants’ Beef Central 30.10.2017
  29. ‘Month-long halt to Malaysia meat imports for 3 Australian establishments’ ABC Rural News 19.09.2017
  30. ‘Seasonal workers’ jobs cut at Murray Bridge abattoir following major fire’ Adelaide Now. 08.01.2018
  31. ‘Thomas in rush to meet big orders after devastating fire’ The Land. 11.01.2018
  32. ‘TFI to replace Murray Bridge at ‘greenfield’ site, if necessary’ Beef Central 22.03.2018
  33. ‘TFI boss opens up on fire recovery’ Stock Journal 27.03.2018
  34. ‘Darren Thomas forges blueprint for fire disaster recovery’ The Australian 31.03.2018
  35. https://www.beefcentral.com/processing/processor-insurance-premiums-surge-in-wake-of-recent-plant-fires/
  36. ‘TFI commits to $30M to Murray Bridge biogas project, plant upgrade’ Beef Central 11.03.2014
  37. ‘Meat giant’s $100M war chest’ Farm Online. 15.04.2014
  38. ‘Thomas Foods International joins PCAS’ Cattle council. 04.04.2017
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  50. ‘Thomas staff to stay, but where will they go?’ The Land 11.01.2018. PDF
  51. ‘Govt studies access to Lobethal facility’ Stock Journal 18.01.2018. PDF
  53. https://www.inverelltimes.com.au/story/5159229/bindaree-may-take-on-thomas-foods-staff-union/?cs=1901
  54. https://www.beefcentral.com/processing/tfi-redeploys-staff-in-wake-of-murray-bridge-plant-fire/
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  57. TFI full page advert. Stock Journal 01.03.2018
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  59. ‘TFI stand-down ruled unfair’ Stock Journal 13.09.2018
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  62. ‘T & R takes a pc stake in Holco Business’ Beef Central 18.04.2014
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