Our History in the Australian Meat Industry

It’s hard to find a family that has a history in a particular industry that stretches back over 100 years but my family does … we’ve been in the meat industry in Australia for over 100 years.

It all started when Robert Gilmore Newberry bought a farm at Wilsons Creek, near Mullumbimby, in northern NSW in 1898. Robert ran dairy cattle, beef cattle and grew bananas as well and later opened butcher shops in Mullumbimby and Brunswick Heads with his mate Joe Torrens.

Robert’s son, Archibald, took over the butcher’s shop in 1924 and ran it till he sold the shop in 1950 and moved his family north to Kin Kin in Queensland where he opened another butcher’s shop. Archibald became well-known in the district and did a lot of work for all the surrounding abattoirs.

Archibald’s son, John, started his butchering apprenticeship in 1963 in a butcher’s shop in Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast. After his apprenticeship he formed a partnership that ran four butchers’ shops on the Sunshine Coast from the late 1970’s to the mid 1980’s. At the same time started an abattoir in Maleny that provided meat for butchers’ shops from Burpengary to Rockhampton and west to Toowoomba.

After a short break from the industry John bought a butcher’s shop in Dayboro, on the outskirts of Brisbane, where he specialised in sausages. With 54 varieties of sausage it wasn’t long before he became known as The Famous Sausage Man.

John built this business from a single shop with a staff of just himself to a full factory in Brisbane that supplied Woolworths and Coles with the whole range of gourmet sausages. John retired from the industry in 2003 due to ill health.

John’s son, Dale … that’s me … started his apprenticeship in Brisbane in 1994. By the 3rd year of my apprenticeship I was managing one of the seven shops operating under the Morrell’s Meats banner.

When I completed my apprenticeship I went to work in Brisbane for a company that supplied staff to various areas within the meat industry and it was in that position that I picked up a lot of skills, knowledge and ideas that I still use today.

In 2001 I left Brisbane for Bundaberg and the challenge of turning around a very run-down butcher shop and by the time I left there in 2008 the business was employing six butchers.

I left Bundaberg to move to Hervey Bay to manage Kawungan Quality Meats, a shop that my mother and step-father had purchased. I managed the business for 12 years and then in July 2020 my partner, Fiona, and I purchased the business and have been growing it ever since.

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