Project Description

James M. BUTCHER (Jim) was born in Bridgetown on 21 January, 1903. His father was a timber cutter. Along with his four brothers and two sisters, Jim attended Bridgetown and Hotham schools until the age of 14.

His first job was as a telegram messenger in the Bridgetown post office. The family lived in Bridgetown until, for health reasons, they moved to a drier climate to take up a pastoral lease, later relinquished, between Southern Cross and Mount Jackson in 1921.

They opened a butcher’s shop in Southern Cross, moving to Kalgoorlie in 1931 to work in the mines. Two years later Jim opened a butcher’s shop in Kalgoorlie.

He met his wife Elsa in Fremantle and they were married in May 1934. He ran the shop with his wife and later his brother joined the business. At first, they purchased the carcasses from the Merredin Meat Company, bringing the wrath of the local suppliers upon themselves.

Eventually Jim decided to become an independent trader and purchased his own stock of 88 bullocks and 480 sheep from Port Augusta. He felt that this was the turning point in their fortunes. Soon they were sending carcasses to Northam, Norseman and Southern Cross. Business slumped during WWII.

It was at this time that he decided to purchase a butcher’s shop, abattoirs and a home in Busselton. The business expanded and soon he purchased several farms and Poll Hereford cattle. The Butcher Brothers of Busselton launched the real beef industry in the south west.

His brother and daughter managed the butcher shop while Jim looked after the cattle and stud farms. Achieving a life membership of the Poll Hereford Society of Australia, he regularly attended the Sydney Royal Shows. At one show he purchased a champion Poll Hereford Bull at the highest price ever paid for a bull.

He served on Busselton Shire Council, Rotary Club (as President) and the Royal Agricultural Society.