Last snags for Barraba butcher

END OF AN ERA: Retiring butcher Peter Hancock shows new owner Ben Freeman, 25,  the ropes as Barraba’s iconic CR Hancock & Sons butchery changes hands. 
Photo: Barry Smith 010914BSB02

END OF AN ERA: Retiring butcher Peter Hancock shows new owner Ben Freeman, 25, the ropes as Barraba’s iconic CR Hancock & Sons butchery changes hands. Photo: Barry Smith 010914BSB02

A FAMILIAR face to Barraba’s meat-lovers has hung up his cleaver – exactly 82 years after his father founded the iconic family business.

Peter Hancock yesterday handed over control of his butchery, CR Hancock & Sons, to a new owner, marking the end of an era for the town.

The 66-year-old’s father, Cyril Hancock, opened the Queen St butchery in 1932 and for more than eight decades it remained in the Hancock family.

But with retirement beckoning and young butcher Ben Freeman – who runs Barraba Beef with parents Robyn and John – keen to take over, Mr Hancock decided the time was right.

“I started making my first batch of snags when I was about 12 and that’s what I’m doing now – I haven’t progressed much,” he said with a laugh yesterday.

Mr Hancock, who ran the business with wife Adrienne since buying out the last of his brothers in 1978, said he never planned on following in his father’s footsteps.

“In those days when you left school you could go into half-a-dozen or eight jobs, but anyhow I chose this one,” he said.

“You have good customer interactions and you make friends and have a bit of a joke and a yarn.

“It’s better than working out on the fence line digging post holes, or in the shearing shed in the sweltering heat, isn’t it?”

Mr Hancock said he hoped there remained a place for independent butchers at a time when eating habits are changing and Coles and Woolworths dominate the market.

“I can remember doing eight or 10 rolled roasts of beef a week, but you wouldn’t do two rolled roasts of beef a week now,” he said.

“Things have changed. There’s too many fast-food outlets now and the Sunday dinner is just non-existent.”

Mrs Freeman told The Leader that Barraba Beef, which has been trading for about four years, was relocating its operations to the site of Mr Hancock’s store.

“We run Barraba Beef in a rental business down the road and we thought we’d like to make it more secure and purchase a business and Pete wanted to retire,” she said.

“Because we’ve got our clientele, once things are settled a bit more we’ll be trading as Barraba Beef.”

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