Abattoir closure spells ‘the end’ for 136-year old business

A WELL-KNOWN Brisbane wholesale meats supplier operating for more than 136 years has been placed in administration after the closure of a Tasmanian abattoir.

Melrose Wholesale Meats, an award-winning lamb supplier, was placed in administration this month after the closure of JBS' Devonport abattoir in northern Tasmania cut-off its supply.

The factory was killing up to 1000 lambs each week for Melrose, which had sold the royal-branded product in Queensland since 2006.

 

Kerry Melrose from Melrose Wholesale Meats.
Kerry Melrose from Melrose Wholesale Meats.

 

Melrose Wholesale Meats general manager Kerry Melrose said the Devonport abattoir's closure meant the business couldn't provide its premier product.

"This potentially could be the end of Melrose meats," he said.

"We've waved the white flag.

"We won't be doing any more Tasmanian lamb because it's becoming too hard to procure."

Tasmanian Royal Lamb was the most significant part of the Melrose Wholesale Meats' business.

At the height of operations in 2014 a staff of about eight worked across the company.

"There's only a couple of people left," Mr Melrose said.

He said the company would do a handful of retail orders, but the future of the company looks uncertain.

Melrose Wholesale Meats regularly won awards for its Tasmanian Royal Lamb. Melrose Wholesale Meats general manager Kerry Melrose.
Melrose Wholesale Meats regularly won awards for its Tasmanian Royal Lamb. Melrose Wholesale Meats general manager Kerry Melrose.

Mr Melrose said it was a sad twist in the company's 136-year Australian history, which he said probably dated back even further in Scotland.

"It's pretty disappointing we have been able to continue the Tasmanian side of things," he said.

Six generations of the Melrose family has worked the butcher trade and, more recently, been involved in key organisations such as Australian Meat Industry Council

One of Mr Melrose's sons is involved in the transport side of the business sector while the other works for another wholesaler.

Melrose Wholesale Meats regularly won awards for its Tasmanian Royal Lamb.

It took out the gong for best lamb at the 2015 Royal Queensland Food and Wine Show awards.

Michael Caspaney of Menzies Advisory has been appointed administrator of the company.



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