Mt Benger Saleyards Trust members retell some of their memories about the yards. From left is new trust chairman Vaughan Moir, of Teviot, and trust member Peter McDougall, of Millers Flat. Photo by Yvonne O'Hara
The history of the Mt Benger Saleyards are a reflection of
the state of farming in the Teviot Valley, sale yard trust
member Peter McDougall, of Millers Flat says.
As the state of sheep and beef farming changed, so did the
number of animals put through the yards and the number of
The yards sit near the old railway station on the Teviot Rd,
which fell out of use when the railway closed in 1968.
There had been sheep yards built on the opposite side of the
road in the 1920s, at about the same time the Teviot Station
was broken into smaller settlement farm blocks for returning
Mr McDougall said the sheep yards were still used when the
railway closed but have since gone.
''After the railway closed here the farmers put up the money
to build the cattle saleyards,'' Mr McDougall said.
''All the area's farmers were shareholders.
''The saleyards are a focal point in the cattle industry in
''However, it must have been great to see 20 mobs of sheep
being driven along the road in front of shepherds and dogs
and not having a major mix-up.''
The cattleyards' covered stand was added in 1979, the smoko
shed (cafeteria) was built in 1990 and there were records of
yards also being upgraded in 1982.
''The auctioneer complained about the cold so we built him an
''When looking through the old minute books it was a hoot
reading about what went on at the meetings.''
He said the yards were run as a limited company until 1993,
but as shareholding farmers sold out and moved away and the
paper work, reporting and share administration became too
expensive and unwieldy, they turned it into a trust.
Mr McDougall said there used to be big adult cattle sale in
the spring and two calf sales in the autumn but now only the
spring and one autumn calf sale were held, in addition to the
odd dispersal sale.
''It is a reflection of the sheep and beef cow herd numbers
going down and the changes in farm practice where people
wintered their calves and took them right through to export
or sold lambs for finishing.''
The cattleyards could accommodate up to 1200 cattle at once
and each sale was a social occasion, attracting buyers,
sellers and onlookers and Roxburgh Plunket did the catering.
''One thing about the saleyards, Teviot Valley was known for
its good stock health,'' he said. ''People got a better
return buying our cattle and they came back to source stock
year after year.''
The trust charged farmers a yard fee and that was used to
fund repairs and maintenance ''with a bit left over in the
kitty in case something needed to be done''.
''We did some major alterations last year to be compatible
''We built a raceway to attach the scanners to.''
Some of the original farming families are still members who
use the yards. The trust held its latest annual meeting on
July 31 and Vaughan Moir, who lives next to the yards at
Teviot, was elected chairman, the third generation to do so.
- by Yvonne O'Hara