Roma Saleyards hit a major milestone this week, celebrating 50 years of operation.
Industry and government gathered on Tuesday to reminisce about half a century, and tour the latest developments which mark the future of the biggest selling centre in the Southern Hemisphere.
Maranoa Regional Council Mayor Tyson Golder said it was a proud day for the Council and the region.
"Even from small beginnings, it was a major force in the region," Mayor Golder said.
"The construction of the saleyards was authorised in 1968, the cost was approximately $150,000 to construct, and the timber yards had a capacity of 3000 head.
"The throughput in the first year was 56,000 head of cattle and over one million cattle were sold through the yards in the first 10 years.
"The current facility has grown exponentially to accommodate up to 13,000 head of cattle... a record for a one day sale held here in March 2013."
The largest throughput at the Roma Saleyards was 415,221 head of cattle in the 2008/09 financial year, and in the 50 years of operation, more than 11 million head of cattle have been sold at a value of over $5 billion.
Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe and Agricultural Industry Development Minister Mark Furner attended the celebrations and toured the new developments which are slated to open in early 2020.
Minister Hinchliffe said the saleyards were not only an important economic focal point for the Maranoa Region, but a popular regional tourism destination.
"Fifty years is a significant milestone, and the history that comes with that is part of the rich cultural heritage of this region," he said.
"We want to ensure the saleyards continue to grow and prosper and remain a state-of-the-art facility for buyers and sellers for the next 50 years.
"That's why we recently announced funding of $1.3 million for stage one of the saleyards' improvement plan, jointly funded with the Maranoa Regional Council, increasing the holding capacity and overall productivity.
"The 156 new selling pens and two new drafting yards will ensure the largest saleyards in the Southern Hemisphere remain an important economic focal point for the region."
Minister Furner said recent Australian Bureau of Statistics figures showed the cattle industry was growing jobs in Queensland, and beef exports hit $5.8 billion in the last year.
"That sort of success needs to be backed by infrastructure and this kind of investment will make sure the industry can expand and grow the regional jobs we need today and into the future," Minister Furner said.
Speaking of the multi-purpose facility currently under construction at the saleyeards, which includes an interpretative centre to attract tourists, Minister Furner said tourism was a long-term sustainable industry for regional Queensland and could carry communities through tough times such as drought.
LNP Senator for Queensland James McGrath congratulated the community and Council's dedication to ensuring the facility prospered, and called on the Queensland government to commit further to regional areas.
"We are one Queensland here; we don't want walls between city and country. What we want to do is make sure we build facilities like this and we build dams, and we can make sure that rural and regional Queensland has a future," he said.