Chinchilla was just a stop along the way to Roma. Chinchilla is different to other country towns – there are interesting places to stay and there was an Indian restaurant instead of a Chinese one. We stayed at The Laurels at Chinchilla (see photos) and had Indian takeaway (no photos sorry). Chinchilla’s claim to fame is watermelons -25% of Australia’s melons are grown here. Better than nothing I guess.
30. Outdoor baths by the river
31. Bubble bath
32. Second hand book shops
33. Reading Tolstoy on holidays (The Cossacks from the second hand book shop)
Roma is serious cattle country. They breed cattle, talk cattle, sell cattle and eat cattle. Perfect place for a vegetarian like me. The sale yards were operating and they sold 3,500 cattle on the morning we visited. The yards are enormous and they can sell up to 17,000 cattle in a day. They are the biggest yards in the southern hemisphere. Cattle are brought in from NSW, the NT, SA and Queensland. The process and economics of cattle selling is fascinating and surprisingly complex. So many people get a cut of the one beast (ha ha) and I think the producers probably get the smallest cut. A pen of cattle is auctioned for about $2.30 a kilo and can either be sold to graziers who will fatten them for market in 6 months or to the abattoirs (some go directly to Coles and Woolies – that’s how they can undercut (!) prices).
This is a fast and furious process. 100% of the beast is used in some way. 50% is used for human consumption. So from $2.30 a kg at the sale yards to $38 ++ a kilo for prime beef at the butchers (depending where you shop) – there’s a lot of people making some money along the way. The blokes at the sale yard reckon it’s not the butchers at the end of the line. The blokes at the sale yard also reckon that all the cattle are very well looked after and animal welfare is their top priority. So all those greenies can leave them alone. OK?
John unsurprisingly had a steak for dinner. I passed. That’s him, looking forward to his slab of beef.