The Story of Newmarket Saleyards

Board 4: World’s Largest

Buying and selling, supply and demand, owners, buyers, auctioneers, cattle and sheep, horses and dogs, spectators, battlers, S.P. bookies, punters and kids. Newmarket was the sound of the country in the city. It was a meeting place, a trading centre, a market in the oldest sense of the word.

Men exchanges stories, did private deals, spent time at one of the many pubs or cafes around Newmarket, renewing old acquaintances, discussing business and the politics of the day. Newmarket has a colourful history and played a large part in Australia’s ride to prosperity on the sheep’s back, in the 1940’s and 1950’s.

At its height, Newmarket Saleyards was the barometer for livestock sale prices throughout the eastern part of Australia. In its 126 year history, millions of sheep and cattle were sold, and in 1944 a world record of over six (6) million sheep were sold.

The closure of Newmarket Saleyards is mourned by many, but what has been retained of the original buildings, the stock pens and loading races, and the clock tower, remain as monuments to a unique era in Melbourne’s and Australia’s history. It was an era when these acres were said to hold the largest livestock sales in the world.

Original panel sponsored by Victoria University of Technology (Now Victoria University)