Photography: “The Knackery”

Probably Warrnambool’s largest single employer (other than the council – this is Australia, after all. Three cheers for big-government) is Midfield, one of Australia’s “most successful meat processing companies” [1]The Midfield Group (Web page, 14/7/2021) <https://midfield.com.au/>.

One of their processing plants is known locally as ‘The Knackery’: it’s a rendering plant where tallow and lard are produced for use in biofuels.

They do not like having their photo taken. (More on that later).

Jake Lunniss | "The Knackery"

Nestled way out of town between the sand dunes and a swamp, the first time I noticed any activity here was circling kites keeping their distance from the hoards of gulls. Driving past I saw something that made me hit the brakes and skid to a stop.

 

Jake Lunniss | "The Knackery"

A pile of bits.

Remember when I mentioned that they don’t like having their picture taken?

On this occasion as the gates were being closed I managed to start up a friendly and informative conversation with one of the workers by opening with “Don’t worry, I’m not vegan.”

On other occasions I’ve been verbally abused, had rocks thrown at me, threats to call the police, been hosed and had my car boxed in (until I pointed out that it would be impossible for me to leave seeing as they’ve removed my form of transport. Cue gorilla head scratching…).

The sensitivity is understandable. But I’ve never understood why a bottom-of-the-rung employee behaves that way in defense of a corporate dictum. Especially considering that Midfield are notorious for truly appalling work conditions.

I have no idea why I’m so fascinated by piles of former cows. Perhaps it’s just because it’s not something you see every day, and if it was everywhere it would lose its appeal.

Or, perhaps, I haven’t totally lost that wildness Tim Winton talks about.

References

References
1 The Midfield Group (Web page, 14/7/2021) <https://midfield.com.au/>
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