The Story of Newmarket Saleyards

Board 5: On the Hoof

During the 126 years the Yards operated, cattle and sheep of all breeds came from near and far. They came on foot from as near as Keilor and from as far away as Queensland and the Northern Territory accompanied by drovers on horseback with their dogs.

They came by rail, ‘driven’ from farms to railway sidings to be unloaded at the Newmarket rail siding. Later they came by road transport direct from the farms and cattle and sheep stations to the holding pens below Epsom Road, when it became the most efficient way to move livestock. The extensive railway system, that crisscrossed Victoria and assisted in making the Saleyards the largest in the world, was phased out.

All the cattle sold at the Yards were originally from British stock, mainly Hereford and Angus, and the sheep were often Merino crossbreds, Poll Dorsets and Southdowns. Drovers and their dogs were ever present; drafters often worked through the night, classing the stock according to quality and breed, penning them ready for auction at just after 8 o’clock in the morning.

Original panel sponsored by City of Melbourne