Live Export

50-year milestone reached by live exporter, Austrex + PICTURES

Beef Central, 20/11/2023

Francisco Romano, Lennart Ephraim, Pollo Scasso, Paul Mason and Nicolas Secco at Friday night’s Austrex 50th anniversary gathering in Brisbane

LIVE export pioneer Austrex celebrated 50 years of operations with a high-spirited knees-up in Brisbane on Friday night.

Tall tales and true were shared among the 300 guests from across the Australian live export industry, shipping service providers, livestock suppliers, and overseas customers attending from China, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and elsewhere.

Among the special guests were Austrex’s original three founders from 1973 – Dr Rick Trivett, David Crombie and John Down, joined a year later as a director by Wayne Reed.

Also attending was Bill Gunn Jr, who together with his father, Sir William, owned Gunn Rural Management – for whom the three Austrex founders all started working, and from which Austrex was born in 1973. Acting as Master of Ceremonies for the night was Wallabies legend John Eales.

Austrex rode the incredible wave of growth seen in livestock exports out of Australia during the 1980s and 90s, experiencing major highs and lows along the way.

The company continues to operate as one of Australia’s pre-eminent livestock exporters to this day, as part of the AgTrade Group led by CEO and managing director, Justin Slaughter.

During Friday’s gathering, a timeline of Austrex’s half-century history was shown:

1968 Richard Trivett joined Gunn Rural Management
1972 First shipment of Brahman feeder heifers (350hd) to Sabah, Malaysia, with Dr Lee
1973 AUSTREX established
First contract to supply Corriedale sheep to Peru
1974 Multiple shipments to Indonesia supplying thousands of Brahman breeding cattle
Commenced supplying Brahman bullocks from the Northern Territory to Brunei by air
Late 70s Fred Tambunan appointed as AUSTREX representative in Indonesia
1978 GRM AUSTREX purchased Auvergne, Newry and Argyle Cattle Stations
Contracted to supply 2,000 Sahiwal and Freisian calves to Malaysia

1983-1985 1.5million long tail ram lambs shipped to Saudi Arabia
1986-1988 New Zealand Agricultural Exports established
Late 80s First shipments to Green E-Sarn Project in Thailand
Shipments of breeder cattle to Mexico with Alex Hansen
Indonesian breeder Brahman contract starts
10,000MT of mutton exported from Australia and Uruguay to Algeria

1990s GROWTH
1992 Sold New Zealand Agricultural Exports to the NZ Dairy Board
1993 Consolidated Press Holdings acquired GRM International & AUSTREX, and
Auvergne, Newry & Argyle properties
Justin Slaughter first employed for work experience
1994 Middle East Australia Trading Company (Meatco) established
Built 150,000hd feedlot in Jordan, led by Jim Stewart
1995 Expanded into SE Asia with feeder and slaughter cattle shipments into Indonesia,
Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei

2001 Exported to UAE, Kuwait and Philippines
2002 First shipment of dairy cattle to China
2003 Richard Trivett retired as CEO, Justin Slaughter appointed General Manager
AUSTREX New Zealand established

2004 Commenced trading frozen meat, dairy products, grains and seeds from Uruguay
and Brazil
2006 Exported breeder cattle from New Zealand to new markets – Pakistan, Peru, Russian
Federation, and Mexico
2008 First ever shipment of dairy cattle to Turkey from Australia
2009 Management buy out – AUSTREX acquired by AgTrade
AgTrade formed

2010s NEW ERA
2011 First shipment of breeder cattle and buffalo from Uruguay and Italy
2012 Shima Wagyu herd established
2015 First shipment of breeder cattle from Chile
Entered Japan wagyu market
2018 Invested with PT PAM to acquire Elders Indonesia assets
Paradigm Foods established
ThriveAgri established

2022 First shipments of wagyu beef from New Zealand and Uruguay
Acquisition of Hay Australia and SP Hay
NatureBase established
2023 Paradigm Foods becomes first Australian meat exporter to be B Corp Certified and
wins National Banksia Sustainability Award for Roots Regenerative Beef
AgTrade – Winner of Premier of Queensland’s Export Awards – Agribusiness, Food
and Beverage
Paradigm Foods – Winner of Premier of Queensland’s Export Awards – Sustainability
& Green Economy

Helen Routledge, Stewart Routledge, Ken Warriner, Sally Ford

Iain Lewis, Mary-Rose Lewis, Justin Slaughter, Margie Slaughter, Tom Slaughter, Campbell Slaughter

Margie Slaughter, Justin Slaughter, David Crombie

Wayne Reed, David Crombie, David Wallace, Richard Trivett, Justin Slaughter, Mary-Lee Trivett, John Eales, Bill Gunn

David Galvin, Cameron Tilley, Simon Jackson

Margaux Beauchamp, Jodie Slaughter

John Eales, Senator Susan McDonald

Jessie Phillips, Lennart Ephraim, Annika Pyle

Wayne Reed, Iain Lewis, David Galvin

Peter Shakespeare, Stephen Moore, David Crombie




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  1. Tom Peddie, 23/11/2023

    Congratulations Justine and all the team, a huge achievement. Looked and sounds like it was a fantastic night.

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