The Butchers Advocate, September 2021

In the small town of Prospect Vale, 7km southwest of Launceston in Tasmania, lies Wayside Butchery, known and loved for its unique variety of locally sourced products.

Owner of Wayside Butchery, Christine Bessell, is a second-generation butcher and is passionate about providing the local community with a range of high-quality products and exotic meats. Christine began her career in the meat industry working for her father after school and on weekends.

She originally intended to pursue a career as a baker, however, 18 months into her apprenticeship she lost her job and began working for her father again.

She then completed an 8-week prevocational course, making her the first woman to complete the course and become a fully qualified butcher in Tasmania.

“I’ve been butchering for 30 years, its something I’m really passionate about. The shop has been running for over 60 years as my dad owned it before me.”

Wayside Butchery was one of the first buildings on its street and is still going strong more than half a century later.

While many things have stayed the same over the years, Christine has expanded the product range to cater to customer preferences. She offers a range of exotic meats which include crocodile, camel, emu and buffalo steaks and sausages.

“Our product range makes Wayside Butchery unique, not many places offer a wide range of different meats as well as locally sourced grass-fed beef, lamb, chicken and pork!”

As well as an expansion of the product range, Christine has made a few other changes over the years, to help modernise and keep up to date with what customers want. While the shop has undergone several refurbishments, Christine doesn’t have any current plans to make further changes.

“I’m not sure what direction I will take next but I’m happy with how the store is currently. I’m focusing on keeping my customers happy and delivering the best service and produce that I can.”

As well as servicing her loyal customer base, Christine provides wholesale to two local bakeries and a local childcare center. Most of her customers are residents and families, many she has known for years.

“Its nice to have a familiar customer base, you can have a good chat and offer a more personalised service.”

Wayside Butchery is active on Facebook, utilising the platform to promote specials and cooking tips. It is also used when new products are launched, helping to generate more interest and sales.

Christine works hard to run the store with a small team, employing an apprentice and a wash-up boy after school and on weekends.

“I only get Sundays off at the moment, so I spend most of my time at the shop! I love what I do and enjoy having an apprentice on the team.”

Wayside Butchery won the Tassie 2019 Sausage King competition in the Traditional Australian Beef Sausage category as well as taking home second and third place in the gourmet sausage and burger categories.

“I’m not the Sausage King, I like to think of myself as the Sausage Queen!”

As well as taking part in local and statewide competitions, Christine is active in the local community, supporting local schools and charities.

“I support St Patrick’s College, Prospect High School and Cure to Tour Biggest Morning Tea which helps raise money and awareness for cancer. I enjoy giving back and being involved with the community.”

When asked what motto Christine follows, she said: “If they can’t see it they won’t buy it so fill it up and offer the best you can!”

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