General News

22 January, 2023

Family meat legacy spans 60 years

Over six decades since Darcy and Raylee Byrnes bought their first butcher shop in Atherton in 1962, Victor Byrnes has carried on his parent’s dream of supplying the region with some of the best cuts of meat available

By Rhys Thomas

Victor Byrnes and his son Cailan celebrated 60 years of Byrnes Quality Meats late last year, an enterprise of butcher shops, abattoirs, cattle stations and more which spans the north.
Victor Byrnes and his son Cailan celebrated 60 years of Byrnes Quality Meats late last year, an enterprise of butcher shops, abattoirs, cattle stations and more which spans the north.

Initially a milk man, Darcy decided he had his fill of his job and decided to exchange businesses with his cousin who had a butcher shop and was also looking for a change of pace.

It was here that the story of Byrnes Quality Meats began when Darcy and Raylee were in their early twenties and quickly set about establishing the businesses in the region.

After taking over the Atherton butcher shop they went on to purchase the slaughter yard and butcher shop in Mount Garnet however, this was just the beginning of the butcher enterprise as in just a few short years, Darcy and Raylee had nine retail out-lets, cattle and fattening proper-ties and the current abattoir at Rocky Creek which now runs as a separate entity to Byrnes Quality Meats.

While the business has scaled down the amount of butcher shops to just two, Portsmith and 1 Street in Cairns, the quality has remained top shelf.

Victor spent many of his younger years in and around the business helping his parents’ but came on in an official capacity to run the abattoir in 1983 when he was 22 however Darcy and Ray-lee didn’t stray far.

“Dad was working right up until he had six weeks of poor health, he was still at work at 3:30am every morning,” Victor said.

“Mum still comes in everyday to the butcher shop and talks to the customers.”

When coming into the business, Victor realised early on that Byrnes Quality Meats was going to grow to be a heavy-weight in the industry just by seeing the passion his father had.

Victor was able to celebrate the 60th anniversary of his par-ent’s legacy late last year and he hopes there are more decades on the horizon for the family busi-ness.

“I realised the drive that dad had, and he was never going to be a small operator in anyway, he was always going to try new things,” he said.

“Mum and I were able to celebrate six decades years in business and thankfully future Byrnes generations will be able to celebrate another successful 60 years in business.

While Byrnes Quality Meats has two retail outlets, the Rocky Creek Abattoir runs separately and not only supplies meat to those shops, but other butcher shops across the Tablelands and Cairns.

Some of the staff and suppliers working with Byrnes Quality Meats have been around for as long as Victor has in the business, sometimes even longer.

Victor feels that without the endless support of the workers at the butcher shops and the abattoir, the family’s business would not have grown to what it is today.

Third generation Byrnes, 27-year-old son Cailan is following in the footsteps of his grandfather and father and is one day hoping to fill the shoes the previous generation has left behind.

“In my case I feel like I need to keep the business going and see how many more years we can stay around and to be part of it feels really special,” he said.

“I don’t want to be in the business if we are just going to stagnant, I don’t want to come into something just to run it.

“If I wanted it to be easy I would go and work for someone else, it is definitely not the easi-est path to follow but it is the one I want to walk.”

Raylee, Victor and his family would like to thank their loyal customers who have supported their family business for the past 60 years, customers, suppliers, workers, and everyone in between who has helped shape Byrnes Quality Meats into the business it is today.


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