Here in History by Betty Laver

Here in History by Betty Laver

The Meatworks


The opening of the Lakes Creek Meatworks in Rockhampton in 1871 established a market for cattle in the immediate Central Queensland area.

The passing by parliament of the Meat and Dairying Encouragement Act was an incentive to those who saw the possibilities of development in the pastoral industry.

By the 1890s the livestock industry in Maryborough investigated the possibility of a meatworks being built in their vicinity but concluded that the river was too shallow for larger ships to navigate.

This caused the Wide Bay and Burnett Districts to heartily co-operate with the establishment of a meatworks at Gladstone, led by William Foster McCord of Coonambula (Burnett).

McCord entered parliament in 1896 but died two years later.

Soon enterprising men, who were already in favour of a Gladstone meatworks, like William Barker Shaw of Rawbelle (Monto), James Bell of Stowe (Calliope), William Parker Bayne of Riverston (Calliope) and William Wilson Watt, a Gladstone butcher, were quick to capitalise on this undertaking.

These men were incorporated as directors and with effective canvassing of the Central Queensland squatters, many of the district cattlemen and local businessmen were amongst the first 300 shareholders to back the venture.

The chosen site for the meatworks was two hundred and two acres at Parsons Point, almost two-mile southeast of Auckland Point and the Queensland Government advanced a 22,000-pound loan.

Shaw and Bayne travelled to Rockhampton to arrange finances for the erection of the buildings.

On the return trip, their ship ran aground in the Narrows and realising that they couldn’t be late for this important shareholder meeting, walked to Monte Christo Station on Curtis Island.

They borrowed horses, and after crossing the Narrows, rode, post haste to Gladstone.

They made a dramatic entrance as they entered the meeting, announcing the success of their mission.

The buildings were under-way in 1895 and the Gladstone Meatworks commenced operations on 24th of May 1896 when a hundred head of cattle were put through without a hitch.

The company built an eighty-metre-long jetty with wooden piles, and this was linked to the meatworks by a tramway.

Land close by was purchased for holding yards.