Thousands of cattle, trucks, buyers and sellers have walked the pens at Cobram Saleyards.By Jessica Grimble
But since July the site which was once a hive of activity near the centre of town has stilled.
Bob Anderson, Don Collie, Ed Cox, Norman Gilmour and Bob Jones met with the Cobram Courier earlier this month to share their memories of the saleyards.
All have been involved in varying ways — some wearing a couple of hats — during their time.
The gathering came after the committee of management applied to Moira Shire Council in July to cease operations.
The council approved the request, along with a request from the Yarrawonga Saleyards Committee, in August.
Chairman Rowan Creighton told the Courier at the time the committee wanted to cease operations while it remained viable.
It had cancelled four sales before the final decision was made.
‘‘We didn’t want to get to the stage where we were a cost to ratepayers and to the council,’’ Mr Creighton said in July.
The Cobram Saleyards have catered for the selling of many animals over the years — but was a particular specialist in the sale of cattle, store cattle, special cattle.
Local stock agents, who previously ran their own yards until around the 1940s, got together and eventually the present-day yards in the centre of town were built.
‘‘We came here in 1946 but there was no loading yard when you bought cattle into the yards,’’ Mr Jones said.
‘‘They had to jump from the truck to the yards.’’
In the 1970s export numbers were affected and the price of cattle was low.
Almost 1400 cattle were shot at one agent’s sale — they were worth nothing.
A buyer was offered a pen for free.
He still picked out the ones he wanted, and left the others behind.
The Cobram yards were the first to introduce weight selling in 1981.
Mr Collie said 1990 was one of the saleyards’ biggest years, about 28
‘‘We thought if we could get to 30
The building of the abattoirs opened another door for selling and buying and the Vodusek family were great supporters of the yards.
There was talk the saleyards would relocate to Tocumwal at one stage.
It was a planned collaboration between Cobram Shire and Berrigan Shire — but the move never went ahead.
The block of land at Koonoomoo Rd is still council-owned and marked the ‘‘future home of the saleyards’’.
The processes of selling livestock have changed drastically since the early days in Cobram.
‘‘We used to walk the cattle across the bridge (from Barooga), past the hospital to here,’’ Mr Collie said.
The decision from the Section 86 Committee to close the yards was clearly a tough one.
‘‘We were going broke. The cattle aren’t in the district,’’ Mr Anderson said.
Cr Cox said dropping numbers brought about a myriad of issues.
‘‘Because the numbers dropped, the vendors and agents couldn’t guarantee the buyers would turn up on the day,’’ he said.
Two or three sales were cancelled, one got them back on track — but it was too late.
The decision had to be made.
‘‘You can expect the buyers to come for 70 to 80 head,’’ Mr Anderson said.
Mr Collie: ‘‘These yards here, even though they’re small, are nearly the most up-to-date yards anywhere.
‘‘They are 90 per cent steel.’’
The local Country Women’s Association were a popular fixture at the saleyards — they started off in a tent before getting ‘‘very modern’’ in a purple caravan before moving into the current kiosk.
Hospital auxiliary volunteers were also involved in the catering for many years.
Yarding, infrastructure and equipment will be sold and possible uses for land discussed after the official closure of Cobram and Yarrawonga Saleyards.
Moira Shire Council will also conduct a cost/benefit analysis on a truck wash at the Cobram site.
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