Generational bullock traders the Killmore family have shut the gate on Smokey, a 480 hectare grazing property at Hat Head near Kempsey.
The kikuyu-rich paddocks, very safe in the dry, had delivered decades of stable income with upriver steers finished on grass.
Charlie Killmore, aged 94, shut the gate for his son Brian and the last mob of Brahman cross steers as they were loaded and trucked to the abattoirs at Wingham this week.
The multi-generation business is now retired. A consortium from Victoria has bought the property and the Killmores will retire to acreage closer to Port Macquarie.
The property was bought as a fattening block by Charlie and his father of the same name. The senior Killmore had sold his dairy farm near Taylors Arm and transitioned to beef, buying lines of full mouth Hereford. In the decades that followed the red and white dominant breed came to include Devon, Shorthorn and Angus steers at the Willawarrin saleyards and fattening them slaughter.
"Back then there was no younger cattle for sale," Brian said. "Nothing was under 300kg. Devon didn't get very big but they got fat. Shorthorn gave them body."
The year Brian was born, 1951, the go ahead father and son team had a butcher's shop at Macksville, employing half a dozen men, and much of what was produced on farm was sold through the shop.
The remainder were taken to Kempsey railway station, drove along the road with men on horseback, before being sold at the Homebush yards in Sydney.
The Killmore enterprise is not the last North Coast bullock trade, but the loss of their dominant presence at sales has already been felt, although opposition bidders are somewhat relieved.
The Killmores typically topped the sale at Grafton, bidding on big framey crossbred steers that had Brahman content.
"The biggest improvement to the bullock trading job was the introduction of Bos indicus into our cattle to give them size and weight," said Brian.