Mr Theodore Swicker came to kingaroy and opened a business in 1941 slaughtering four pigs and six claves each week.
Mr Theodore Swicker came to kingaroy and opened a business in 1941 slaughtering four pigs and six claves each week.

Meet the man who started our pork industry

KINGAROY'S BaconFest food festival has created a buzz amongst foodies, devoting three entire days to celebrate bacon this week.

The town's claim to pork fame however, started from humble beginnings.

Kingaroy Heritage Museum volunteer Pam Kerr said it was an incredible feat for Swickers founder Theodore Swicker, who moved to Kingaroy in 1941.

When he first opened the abattoir its weekly kills consisted of four pigs and six calves.

"He increased his kills the entire time, one man on his own who started it all, I find it quite incredible,” she said.

Swickers is now the only export-accredited pig abattoir in Queensland, and is one of the largest operating abattoirs in the southern hemisphere.

"He started out as just him, and now look at all of the employees,” Mrs Kerr said.

Mr Swicker was regarded as an incredible craftsman, she said.

"From what I can understand he was an incredible craftsman, or artist, they reckon his sausages and sauerkraut were actually an artist's work,” Mrs Kerr said.

Almost 80 years later, an entire food festival has been devoted to the South Burnett industry Mr Swicker founded.

"I should imagine, I'm hoping, he'd find it very humbling,” Mrs Kerr said.

In 1956, Mr Swicker sold the business to some businessmen and stayed on as the first manager at what was called the Swicker's Kingaroy Bacon Factory Pty Ltd.

Mr Swicker retired from his business in 1958 and moved to Hervey Bay.

Mrs Kerr is currently carrying out a research project on the history of Swickers for the museum to put together a timeline, and is seeking any more information people may have about the abattoir or the founder himself.

"Maybe someone is out there who knew him,” she said.

Tracking down information has proved difficult as Mr Swicker did not have any descendants, however he did have ties to the Sunshine Coast and Maryborough, Mrs Kerr said.

If anyone has any information, get in contact with the Kingaroy Heritage Museum on 4189 9262.