Huge Groper at South Brisbane Fish Market 1938

The  huge 234.75 pound (106.5 kg) big groper had been caught in the Brisbane River at the Brisbane Abattoir Wharf which was part of the privately- owned abattoir established in 1913 as Swifts Meat Works in what was then rural Cannon Hill. It was one of the largest employers in Brisbane and a vital contributor to the development of the Cannon Hill community. The company planted extensive gardens and an avenue of Jacaranda and African Tulip trees leading from the entrance down to the river.

When the State took over private abattoirs in 1930 Swifts  became the Brisbane Abattoir. After extensive additions and alterations in 1931 the works continued operating successfully until the 1980s when they moved to another site away from the river.

In 1998 the Brisbane City Council acquired the land of the original abattoir for use as parkland, today known as the Colmslie Beach Reserve. The now mature trees are an important reminder of the industry that used to be on the site. The Reserve was entered on the local Heritage Register on 30 November 2012 with special focus on the avenue of trees which remain of the original gardens planted by Swifts. The site is also a significant reminder of  ‘one of Queensland’s most important industries that employed thousands of Queenslanders during the 20th century.’
The groper was sold at the South Brisbane Fish Market for twopence a pound, netting a return of nearly £2 (approx $4).
( Local Heritage Register/Telegraph 18 October 1935)

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