A day at the sale yards

This time it’s real value for money – two for the price of one! I think the auctioneer was probably trying to do the opposite – one for the price of two!

See the chap in the second photo with his arm outstretched. Now, I’ve been to a few stock sales and general auctions in my time and I can be fairly confident that he’s telling farmers, ‘These are the finest sheep I’ve ever seen!’

These sale yards were in Ward Street on the site now on the corner of Ward and Anglesea Streets in 1907.

The sheep are stood out  in the open in both photos; some penned others not. It is about 1:15 in the afternoon – are they feeling the heat? I don’t think so. It does have the look of late autumn or winter about it. If it’s winter then it’s been a bit dry.

How do we know all this? The street is very smooth and dry. These streets were not sealed in those days, so a dry smoothish surface means no rain for a few days.  Autumn/winter? Look, the deciduous trees have lost their leaves and the sheep haven’t been shorn – it’s certainly not spring. Those sheep are probably as happy as pigs in muck!

Then there’s the covered pens – pigs?  Probably, but I’d love to hear from anyone who knows.  Oh yes, 1:15pm? Ward St runs very close to north-east/southwest. Look at the shadow of a dog at right angles to the street. It’s a long shadow (mid-year) and it’s straight ahead of him. Applying a neat trick I learned in Scouts (using your watch to work out compass bearings) I figure that is about that time but one day I shall check my theory – just in case.

There is no date supplied with these photos but they are (surprisingly) probably from about 1910/11 – maybe even later. We see that H.H. Shaw was an agent for Hudson cars and that company was founded in 1909 so it cannot be before then.

The sale yards were owned by the borough council. Indeed, some ratepayers had no use whatever for the council owning such amenities. They were constructed here due to the health hazard the old yards and horse bazaar posed at the Victoria St site. A new horse bazaar (which we will feature later) was built in the next block of Ward St (about from Anglesea St to Starbucks – Alexandra St did not exist in that part of town). The buildings in the background? Hamilton West School on the same site now occupied by the Wintec Hub.

As for getting stock to the sale yards…  Well, from Horsham Downs you would for many years have to drive your stock along River Road, over the Union Bridge (in very small groups as that bridge was literally crumbling) and (usually) along Victoria St.

Nothing changed when the Traffic Bridge opened late in 1910 except you didn’t need to split your stock into small groups – the new bridge could take a flock of sheep no trouble but Victoria St still copped it!

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One thought on “A day at the sale yards

  • November 21, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Perry, your detective work is magnificent! Lord Baden Powell would have applauded your powers of observation.


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