Warwick saleyards users present unite to past and celebrate
THE development of the Warwick Municipal Saleyards into one of the top saleyards in Queensland during the past 50 years was celebrated at a luncheon at Kings Theatre on Saturday.
More than 130 guests attended the celebrations, including past and present cattle buyers and producers, livestock selling agents, saleyard superintendents and administration staff, members of the saleyard advisory committee and agents association, transport operators, along with councillors and special guests.
If we had to deal with the 2300 or so they now have at the Tuesday sale, we would have been there for weeks processing the paperwork.
Many stories were shared but what stood out for most were the improvements and changes made in the 1970s with the building of the steel yards and the introduction of the liveweight scales.
Previous Grayson and Sons Livestock agent and owner Ross Grayson said he was proud to be associated with the Warwick saleyards and had been a part of it since the beginning.
"At the first sale on October 3, 1961, we were honoured to be the first selling agent, with my brother Lyle Grayson as auctioneer, selling Stan Gray's beast to Oakey abattoir," he said.
"Then again at the first sale when the liveweight scale was introduced, we were once again lucky enough to draw first, selling Cec Jamieson's beast to Bill Gross."
During the Warwick saleyards history there have only been three superintendents - the late Frank Doherty, Harry Downie from 1969-1989 and current superintendant Alan Wenham.
Mr Downie said he felt privileged to have worked for the saleyards throughout one of the most significant periods of change.
"The introduction of the liveweight scales proved to be a very nervous time with the meatworks buyers initially boycotting the sale however, within a couple of weeks, things were back to normal and better than ever," he recalled.
"Back in my day we only had a few hundred cattle per week and, if we had to deal with the 2300 or so they now have at the Tuesday sale, we would have been there for weeks processing the paperwork."
Current superintendent Alan Wenham said the technology involved today in the operation of the saleyards was definitely a huge improvement and assists in the overall success of the Warwick saleyards.
"This year has been the largest revenue wise, with $47 million worth of transactions year to date," he said.
"I plan to stick around for a long time to come and continue to take the saleyards into the future."
The Warwick saleyards is also responsible for a number of life-time friendships being formed.
Working for the selling agents' association for more than 30 years, Ron Benz and Warren Schelbach said they had met so many good people over the years.
"I've seen many improvements to the saleyards during my time but the friendships I have made throughout my service are invaluable," Mr Benz said.
"I still enjoy going to the sale each week and teaching the new generation the tricks of the trade."