The forecast for a glorious day in Melbourne saw increased numbers attend the 32nd annual Newmarket saleyard reunion on Saturday.
With numbers up around the 80 head mark, many familiar old tales and new were heard and retold under the shade of the peppercorn trees in “A” race outside the former offices of Australia’s grandest old saleyard.
A dwindling stock of former drovers, stock agents, buyers, farmers and carriers across the state and interstate also stopped in a moments silence to remember departed colleagues who will never turn again as the bell on the clock bell echoed quietly in the background.
A growing band of first-timers also attended and soaked up the legend of the once city within a city where rural folk conducted business, traded and supplied livestock so people could be fed across the nation and overseas.
In keeping with the nostalgic theme of the former saleyard the cry of an auctioneer’s voice was once again briefly heard drifting across the cobblestones. For sale, this day, was the memoirs of John Paterson – a drover in his day at Newmarket and also the Clerk of the Course at the nearby Flemington Racecourse – in a book beautifully written and self-published by Gary Harvey.
The day also acknowledged the efforts of Joan Caldwell for her endless dedication documenting the history of Newmarket Saleyard, and Kevin Shrimpton and the extended Shrimpton family for organising the day in memory of their father and former Newmarket drover, John Shrimpton.
Hardwick Kyneton abattoir, Frewstal Abattoir, Stawell, the family of the late Graeme “Waxy” Pearce and Stock & Land were also thanked for their generous support of the day.
Plans for next year’s 2020 Reunion on Saturday, February-15 were also commenced.