Graeme Pretty has been working in the meat industry for 50-plus years, primarily for beef processors Greenham.
Story + Photos Andrew Bain
At the edge of a farm track on one of the largest beef properties in north-west Tasmania, Graeme Pretty sits in his LandCruiser and looks out across a herd of Wagyu cattle. For Greenham’s group livestock manager, this is a weekly ritual, driving from the Smithton abattoir to Westmore, the company’s 3200ha property in Arthur River, where he’ll often drag out his lunch box and simply sit and watch the cattle.
“It’s like doing yoga or something for me,” Graeme says. “It just settles everything down and reminds me how special the simple things are. If I was 20 years younger, I’d be managing this place. I love it.”
Looking over the property today, Graeme describes it as the best season he’s ever seen. And he’s seen a few. He’s been working in the meat industry since 1970, when he began washing out yards at RJ Gilbertson’s Altona abattoir, setting him on the path to a life in livestock and one of the industry’s closest and most enduring friendships.
For the bulk of his 51-year career, Graeme has worked for Greenham, the family-owned operator of three abattoirs: Tongala (where the cow-processing plant closed in February) and Moe in Victoria, and Smithton in north-west Tasmania.
This story excerpt is from Issue #136
Outback Magazine: Apr/May 2021