THIS weekend will mark the end of an era for a Maclean business as Ross Jones steps aside from the family butchery.

Perched on the corner at 1 Clyde St Maclean, Mr Jones will take a break from the RP Walters butchery, first owned by his grandfather Robert Percival Walters in 1947, and later his father Sid Jones, who worked in the business until his death at age 92.

Mr Jones has worked in the butchery for 50 years, starting as an apprentice in 1968, and has barely had a day off since.

"I reckon I've had two weeks off in the last 30 years," he said.

"I asked dad (Sid) about flexi-days and he put his hand on my shoulder and said 'Son, they're only a vicious rumour'."

Mr Jones said much had changed, including the increase in the weight of meat that came through ("The big (cuts) are now are very fatty") and also the marked increase in price in the cost of buying it wholesale.

However, one thing has never changed since the day he started.

"Our sausages, they have not changed and the recipe is a family secret.

"I get asked by heaps of butchers for the recipe and they all get the same answer," he said with a shake of the head and hand.

Mr Jones said that the butchery had retained its very traditional feel and he wouldn't have it any other way. "Today, the saws you have (for) 10 years and you throw them away, we've had ours for 50 to 60 years," he said.

"I wouldn't trade my machines for all theirs."

Mr Jones will take a short break before returning to work for the new owners a couple of days a week.

"After this long, I don't think I could go cold turkey," he said.

"It's hard to stop, but I've always worked, so to not work is going to be strange.

"I like playing golf, I still surf a bit and I've bought three new fishing rods.

"I'll still do a couple of days, but after 50 years I think I've earned a couple of days off."



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