The fight to save a century-old saleyard south of Brisbane from redevelopment isn’t over, despite locals winning a battle for it to be heritage listed.
- The Beaudesert saleyard was due to be demolished last year
- It is included in the Scenic Rim Regional Council’s $8 million town redevelopment plans
- A group of locals petitioned to save the saleyard and had it added to the heritage register
The Beaudesert Pig and Calf saleyard has been a meeting place for locals in the Scenic Rim since 1905 — the fortnightly event acting as more than a sale but a focal point for the community.
The saleyard was due to be demolished last year, as the space is included in the Scenic Rim Regional Council’s $8 million town redevelopment plans.
Those who attend the sales say the area’s rural culture and heritage will be lost if it is demolished, as urban development encroaches on the town just an hour outside of Brisbane.
A group of locals petitioned to save the saleyard, successfully getting it added to Queensland’s heritage register, but the council is set to appeal the listing in the Queensland Environment and Planning Court.
‘An icon that needs to be kept’
Peter Hayes is the operator of the Beaudesert Pig and Calf Saleyard and has been running sales there for about 30 years.
“I don’t think they’re listening to the people … if it changes, well it’s got to change, but I don’t think that’s what the people want,” Mr Hayes said.
“The local people were very excited and very happy the thing was going to be kept and restored.
Olivia Gilroy attended this week’s sale with her neighbour and said the saleyards were important for the elderly people living in the area.
“People look forward to it, it’s every two weeks, it’s on the calendar, it’s more than a sale, it’s a social thing, it’s a mental thing,” Ms Gilroy said.
Council to continue with appeal
Despite being one of the last of its kind, the Scenic Rim Regional Council is going ahead with plans to appeal the heritage listing.
To win, it must prove the saleyard does not meet the heritage criteria.
Cliff Kroesen was the applicant on behalf of the community who put the saleyard case forward to the Queensland Heritage Council.
“For council to successfully appeal, they would need to satisfy the Planning and Environment Court that the saleyards do not have a strong or special association with the Beaudesert Farming Community,” he said.
“Given the extremely strong social connection that the saleyards have and the current focus on the mental wellbeing of primary producers, it would be quite difficult to mount any sort of convincing argument that the saleyards did not satisfy [the] criteria.”
‘Saleyard not safe’
Mayor Greg Christensen said parallel to the appeal, recent engineering reports found the site’s safety standards aren’t up to scratch.
He said an unintended consequence of the heritage listing could mean the end of operations at the saleyard.
“Very often a heritage-listed building cannot have any modification whatsoever because it adjusts the character of the building,” he said.
“Our initial engineering shows that in its current state, this building is not safe, or suitable, for ongoing use with livestock because it fails basic engineering needs, environmental needs and animal welfare needs.
“They’re pretty key issues for us as a region to meet our legal responsibility.”
Cr Christensen said he recognised the importance of the town’s rich rural culture and always planned to pay tribute to that through a memorial site in the town’s new development.
“We believe all of those aspects are important to carry forward and celebrate into the future, we just want to be able to do that in a way that is sustainable and legal in terms of how we have to manage the facility.”
He said if the sales can’t continue at the current site in future, they can be held at another location.
“We do have other operators who have expressed interest in providing that opportunity if it can’t continue in it’s current location.”
The significance of Beaudesert’s Pig and Calf Saleyard is outlined on the Queensland Heritage Register.
It said the saleyard is important surviving evidence of the region’s dairy and pig producing industries, which was one of the most prominent in Queensland in the 20th century.
From over 100 towns which reported holding regular pig and calf sales, purpose-built 20th century pig and calf saleyards are documented at 40 towns, and only nine are known to remain throughout the state.
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