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Abattoir staff photograph, Newcastle, NSW, [mid 1970s]
MAP #: M4348
TITLE: Seven photographs of the Abattoirs and staff 1932 – 1938, [and some undated]
Mr Allan Robinson writes by email (24 Nov 2011):
"I am an ex Assistant General Manager and Works Superintendent and later General Manager of the then Newcastle City Council Abattoir at Waratah, now Warabrook.
The photograph was probably taken in the mid 1970's on the occasion of Tom Farrell's retirement from the Abattoir.
This function was in fact held at the University, and the proceeds of the night after expenses were donated to the University at Mr Farrell's' request.
Tom Farrell of course lends his name to the Tom Farrell Institute at the University. I can identify everyone in the photograph if you are interested."
We replied that we were indeed interested.
A sincere and very appreciative thank you to Mr Allan Robinson, who kindly not only identified the people in the above photograph, but also included biographical information on each individual. He writes in an email (24 Nov 2011):
"The people in the photograph, bar three, were all Salaried Staff, or recently retired staff of the Abattoir.
Back Row, starting at the left:
1st left, face partially obscured:
Colin Iles: Colin started as a junior clerk out of school at the head office of the Abattoir in the City Hall, Newcastle. He gained his accountancy qualifications and eventually was the Abattoir Accountant for a number of years, succeeding Alexander William Elliott whom I will talk about later in this email. Colin was later appointed Assistant General Manager & Works Superintendent up till the time of the abattoir's closure by Council in September, 1980. Colin was distantly related to the Leece's whom I will talk about later. Colin now lives at Wallsend.
2nd from left, face partially obscured.
Allan Robinson: That's me! I started as a junior clerk in the abattoir office on site at Waratah. I was just over seventeen at the time, and had had an injury to my leg that took years to fix, and only completed 2 years and 3 months high school because of it. I applied for the job on crutches and got it on the proviso that I completed what was called the Certificate Entrance Course at TAFE, which was the equivalent of the then Schools Intermediate Certificate. After about ten months at the works office, I was transferred to the Head City Hall Office. I then studied the Accounting Certificate Course for the next four years, was admitted as a member of the then Australian Society of Accountants and now known as Certified Practicing Accountants. From there I studied to become a Chartered Secretary and was admitted as a member. I studied and completed the Meat Inspection Course over the next two years. I eventually was appointed Chief Clerk, then Assistant Accountant, then Assistant General Manager & Works Superintendent, and finally General Manager. From the start of my time as Assistant Accountant moves were being made to join with the Maitland Council and build a new Abattoir at Farley, near Maitland. Those moves eventually failed, and subsequently I recommended as General Manager that the Abattoir be closed, but after about six months, and after my departure, the Council closed the abattoir.
3rd from left full facial
Robert Stone: Bob was the Freezing Department Foreman
4th from left face nearly fully obscured:
George Pate: Like the Meat Department, the Abattoir had its own ham and bacon business. George was the Bacon Department Manager after Dave Gray (see below). The Bacon Department was closed in the early 1970's
5th from the left, the tall man with tie:
Colin James Barnier: Colin started as a junior clerk at the head office at City Hall, and in the latter years of the Abattoir was the Head Store man. Colin's father was a butcher in Darby Street, Newcastle. That shop continues to trade to this day as Darby Street Quality Meats. Colin's uncles, the Hughes brothers are also in the photograph. Colin now lives at Kurri Kurri.
6th from the left, after a gap, a shorter man, almost full facial
Edward James Powell: Ted was the Export Clerk at the abattoir in 1957 and later transferred to the Meat Department. Ted now resides in the Aged Care Facility at Shoal Bay.
7th from the left, short man with glasses: Bill Herd: Bill was the Head Storeman in 1957 and until he retired.
8th from the left, tall man with grey hair, full facial:
Vic Moore: Vic was the Chief Health Inspector for Newcastle City Council. He was not employed by the Abattoir.
Middle Row, starting at the left
1st extreme left, man with tie:
Arthur Outram: Arthur was a meat salesman at the Abattoir. Newcastle Abattoir was unique among Local Government Abattoir in NSW in that as well as providing a slaughtering service to butchers in the area, it also traded in its own right in the purchase of animals for slaughter and sale. By trading in its own right, the Meat Department provide animals for slaughter and was used to smooth out the peaks and troughs in the production schedule when insufficient stock was available from butchers for slaughter.
2nd left, after a gap.
Allan Hughes: Allan was the paymaster at Waratah Office. He is the brother of Les Hughes (see later) and the uncle of Colin Barnier (see above) 3rd left after a gap, the short man with glasses:
Dave Gray: Dave was the Bacon Department Manager after Charlie Farrell (Tom's brother). Prior to that he had been a pig buyer.
4th left between small man (Dave Gray, with glasses, and Tom Farrell, full facial
Walter Richardson: Walter was a clerk at the Waratah site 5th from the Left, full facial and with tie, centre of photo
Rolf Everest (Tom) Farrell: Mr Farrell was, when I started at the abattoir in 1957, Assistant General Manager & Accountant working out of the City Hall Office. Mr Farrell subsequently relinquished the title of Accountant to Alexander William Elliott (see later). A new General Manager of the Abattoir had been appointed just before 1957. The Council appointed Eric Bell ahead of Mr Farrell at the time, and there was evidence of some acrimony between the two men. Mr Farrell had apparently come to the Abattoir from the State Dockyard, and was in the Air force during the War. Mr Farrell was appointed General Manager after Mr Bell's death in the late 1960's.
6th from the left, man with glasses, full facial:
William Charles (Bill) Burges: Mr Burges was the Town Clerk of Newcastle City Council.
7th from left tall man, full facial. Frank Hector: Frank was a Meat Salesman with the Meat Department.
8th from left. Short balding man
Alexander William Elliott: Alex started as a junior clerk at the City Hall just before the war, and saw service in a Tank Regiment. Alex was the Assistant Accountant in 1957, and was appointed Accountant when Mr Farrell relinquished that part of his title soon after. Following Mr Farrell's' retirement, Mr Elliott was appointed General Manager. He was appointed at the time when the NSW Government had constituted what was then to become NSW Meat Industry Authority. The Meat Industry Authority had directed that both Newcastle and Maitland Abattoir consider constructing a new Abattoir and then closing both existing Abattoir. This resulted in the operations of both Abattoir come under the control of a Joint Committee comprising members drawn from both Newcastle and Maitland City Council, with a Meat Industry Authority Member (Albert Towns formerly from Newcastle abattoir as a meat inspector and then manager of Goulbourn abattoir) being part of the Joint Committee. Land was purchased at Farley, near Maitland, preliminary costings were done on various plans and proposals etc, but every cost benefit analysis did not stand up commercially in the face of an industry that was rapidly changing, and which would have had to be largely, if not totally funded by the State Government. Industrial unrest was evident, as was lack of support from Newcastle butchers, the customers of the Abattoir. All this took its toll on Mr Elliott, who retired with ill health. Alec had a brother who was a slaughter man at the Abattoir. Alex held qualifications as an accountant, chartered secretary, meat inspector and town clerk.
9th from left, leaning into the photograph
Edward Holt Leece: Eddie was the Meat Department Manager. He was good operator; he was well regarded in the grazing fraternity and at country Saleyards, and had many contacts in the meat industry which added to his success. He was Thomas Henry Leece's younger brother, (see below) and had some connection with Colin Iles (as above)
Front Row, starting at the left.
Mrs Bessie Humphreys (nee Lawson): Mrs Humphrey's was the only daughter of J. Lance Lawson, who was the first Secretary & General Manager to the then Newcastle Abattoir Board as it was constituted in 1912, with Abattoir starting production 1916. Mr Lawson remained as General Manager well after the Board was dissolved following the passing of the Greater Newcastle Act in 1939. Mr Lawson came from the Wickham Council, where he was Town Clerk of that Municipality. Mrs Humphreys was a clerk at the Head Office at the City Hall and assumed some greater responsibilities while Mr Farrell and Mr Elliott were at the War. She did not marry until very late in life, and then to a World War 1 soldier, Harry Humphreys
2nd from left, with glasses
Leslie Gordon Hughes: Les was a meat inspector , clerk, and industrial officer. In those days, most Local Government Abattoir had protection from what were called the 66 Ordinances, in that meat could not be brought into the "Newcastle" area, in our case, unless it was first inspected before sale. This was Les's job to inspect the meat and meat products such as small goods, issue appropriate certification as to their freshness and condition, and to launch prosecutions for people selling meat that had first not been inspected. Les was Allan Hughes's (as above) elder brother and was an uncle to Colin Barnier (above)
3rd from the left, in the middle
Percy Bird: Percy was a Hide and Skin Merchant, whose premises, a large tin shed in Parry Street, Newcastle West, were roughly opposite the "colliery pit head" near where the ABC Offices are today. Percy would buy hides and skins from the abattoir on tender, but it was reported that most of his considerable wealth came from dealing in rabbit skins before, during, and just after the War. Percy would sell anything, and often he would have barrels of apples and other farm produce displayed on the footpath outside his shed for sale which he would buy from farmers in the North of the NSW. At the time of this photo he was near, if not retired.
4th from the left small man with glasses
George Rosenthal: George was a chemist, and his job was ensure the integrity of the by products such as meat meal, blood meal, etc and so as to meet the specification for such products. He was also responsible for the integrity of the brine used in the Bacon Department, and general hygiene issues, and procedures for the Abattoir. During the Second World War he was instrumental in developing techniques relating to dehydrating and the curing of meats sent from the abattoir to troops in the Pacific theatre of War. A number of buildings were constructed at the Abattoir to accommodate these specific processes.
5th from the left
Thomas Henry Leece: Harry was the Slaughtering Superintendent in 1957 and was later appointed Assistant General Manager & Works Superintendent, and later General Manager. Though well regarded by one and all in the workforce, he was left initially with the aftermath from the failed attempt to get the Farley Abattoir proposal up, which had some smoldering repercussions for a few years to come. It was during his term as General Manager, that the Meat Union made the Newcastle Abattoir Award the test case for all abattoir Awards in NSW and this resulted in prolonged sessions in the Courts, strikes and disputation, and that crippled the abattoir to some extent in that it never recovered to its former position. Harry was the elder brother of Eddie Leece (above) and had some connection with Colin Iles (above).
Regards Allan Robinson"
If you would like to comment on the photograph, please contact us or leave a Recollection using these instructions.SubjectNewcastle District Abattoir (N.S.W.)Newcastle (N.S.W.)Date[1970s]
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