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For some, a livestock selling centre is nothing but noise, dust and flies, to others it is a world all of its own and being part of that saleyards fraternity provides a life time experience, connections and a culture many never know.
The Finley Livestock Exchange, whilst now small by the standards of some of the larger regional selling centres, still represents the “state of the art” in livestock selling today and prior to the drought years we are now experiencing featured amongst the top selling centres by through put of numbers. It also represents over 100 years of evolution and planning by those characters who have been part of that special world.
What must have been the first Finley Saleyards were recorded as being operational as early as January 1894. Over the years various enterprising gentlemen built saleyards and conducted sales at a number of different locations throughout the town until about 1936 when Ray Hutchinson who later became one of Victoria’s largest grain buyers and flour millers built a set of saleyards in Townsend Street close to the present saleyards site. For some reason he had second thoughts and sold his unused new yards to John McNamara & Co. By 1945 New Zealand Loan, Goldsborough Mort and Younghusbands had built yards near to or just to the north of the current site. With the transition of the district from dry land farming up to the end of World War 2 and the upsurge in stocking rates as the post war district was transformed by irrigation saw in 1958 New Zealand Loan start to build a set of cattle yards on what is now the current site. Before these facilities were completed Goldsborough Mort and John McNamara & Co each had bought a one third interest with Younghusband joining the combine shortly after to form Stockyards Pty Ltd.
Certain stresses developed in the trade as a result of the natural desire of firms not previously represented in the district to enter this lucrative field with livestock prices on the crest of a wave, or the equally natural reluctance of the established agents to share their hard won facilities.
In 1967 Pat McNamara & Co and Victorian Producers Co operative made plans to acquire land to the west of the Stockyards Pty Ltd site and erect their own sheep and cattle yards. They were joined in this venture by Jim Cockayne & Co which returned the situation to that of earlier years with agents selling at divergent places following the opening of their complex on 3rd June 1970. The Berrigan Shire Council acquired both complexes during 1978 and took over management of the yards with sales being conducted by individual agents under the banner of the Finley Associated Agents.
Always at the forefront of development, and in particular the sale of fat cattle, with the cattle being presented before the buyers seated around a sale ring which saw the sale ring being converted to a set of scales with the advent of live weight selling of cattle. In 1998 a complete refurbishment of the amenities area enclosed the selling area and provided a modern canteen and office space for the agents.
Join the crowd at one of the sales and become part of that special world.