The Australian Wagyu Association Hall of Fame recognises pioneers of the industry, true blue legends and those who have shaped the Wagyu Sector to what it is today. During the opening of the 2022 WagyuEdge Conference in Melbourne on Wednesday 27th April, AWA President Mr Charlie Perry awarded the 2022 Hall of Fame recipient.
The 2022 Hall of Fame Awardee is a true giant of the Australian Beef industry. In recognising him, we acknowledge the immense contribution he has made to the growth of Australian Wagyu. His impacts span all aspects of Wagyu production – from supporting the development of new Wagyu producers, through to the establishment of global chains.
Our 2022 Hall of Fame Awardee is of course – Mr Peter Hughes.
Peter is of course, part of the dynamic duo that is Peter and Jane Hughes. Together with their sons Fred and Sam, and their families, they are instantly recognisable to us all. They are among the pioneers of our industry as well as leaders in current wave of consolidation and development of Australian pastoral properties.
The Hughes family owns Georgina Pastoral Co which originally operated around 100,000 head of cattle across three stations – which were Lake Nash on the Barkly Tableland in the Northern Territory, Caldervale near Tambo in Central Queensland and Keeroongooloo via Windorah in the Channel Country.
They have since expanded with other significant property acquisitions including the addition of Stanbroke’s Miranda Downs Station and Victoria River District cattle stations Riveren and Inverway. The Hughes property aggregation is now estimated to hold more than 200,000 head and Wagyu is a large part of the Hughes success and future plans.
Peter has been described as a ‘Superpower of the Australian Beef Industry’ and ‘Australia’s undisputed cattle king”. He is more notably though, one of Pioneers of Australian Wagyu and certainly a core contributor to the growth and maturation of the Wagyu Sector.
However, his friends and those of us in the Wagyu sector, know of Peter as a down to earth, personable and generous man who has made time for those around him, providing advice and guidance, sharing his knowledge with any who would ask.
Across the Hughes pastoral and Georgina pastoral empire, the crown jewels and headquarters of the family business is the family station Tierawoomba at Nebo, west of Mackay. At Tierawoomba was where Peter’s love affair with Wagyu would begin. Based from Tierawoomba, over almost 30 years, the Hughes Wagyu breeder herd is now numberd at more than 50,000 purebreds, turning of 20-30,000 feeders each year to Peters long-term supply chain partners.
Peter’s good mate, close neighbour and fellow Wagyu Hall of Famer – Wally Rae – recalled that Peter was very cautious about getting into Wagyu. But when he got going, he really got going! He recalled that Peter wasn’t a risk taker and wanted to see how the cattle performed in the country. He had to see it to believe it.
Peter was first a foremost a cattleman and wanted to make sure the wagyu cattle would suit the country. A primary driver for Peter in getting into Wagyu was fertility and docility, the cattle performed so well in the Qld environment for weaning rates and surviving drought. So, Wally sold Peter his first Wagyu, then more after that, and the rest is History. Today, Peter, Jane and the Hughes pastoral team run what is thought to be the largest privately owned Wagyu herd in the world.
Plenty of people didn’t like Wagyu in the early years, they didn’t look like Northern Cattle. Peter broke down barriers, provided the confidence and supply that helped grow supply chains, brands and the broader Wagyu Sector around it.
In nominating Peter for this award and speaking with some of you that have known Peter and his journey in Wagyu, we have received the following comments:
Peter dead set deserves it. He has been a major part of building what we all have today.
He runs a good show, a bloody big show, but a good show. All that work with him respect him.
He is the most honourable of business men, his hand shake is his deal.
Peter is a proper good fella.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is such a privilege for me to stand in front of you today and ask you to put your hands together and recognise a man that who thoroughly deserve our recognition. On behalf of the Australian Wagyu Association and your colleagues and peers in the room, the 2022 Wagyu Hall of Fame Nominee is Mr Peter Hughes.