Blackall Street Butchery

Once A Jet, Always A Jet

By Darren Hallesy

For the last twenty years former player Paul Wilkinson has dedicated his life to running his butcher’s shop in Basin Pocket, and his meat has just as good as reputation as his skills on the field.

Paul always knew that most sports players have a limited time in the spotlight, so he made sure he had a backup plan in the 1990s when he was at his peak with the Ipswich Jets, and now, in their 40th year, he is over the moon to be involved in the club as a sponsor.

“My dad wanted to make sure I had a trade option when I finished school, and I was offered an apprenticeship, left school and that was it,” Paul said. “I like people, I really enjoy the job and meeting different people.

“I used to play for the Jets in the mid-nineties and I’ve always loved the club, I have a wall of jerseys here in my shop. I’m on the Old Boys Committee this year, and back then you had to have a backup job. It was so different when I played, and work had to come first. I’ve always worked on farms which put dinner on the table for many years, and I guess work is in my DNA. Footy was a working man’s game when I played, but today players are super athletes, it’s amazing the fitness levels you need today. I still love the game.

“You need to evolve as a player and as a person, and you have to earn your position in life. Your career can end with one injury and working teaches you good values. In my industry I have the utmost respect where my food comes from. Many people need to understand that.

Paul has a bond with the Ipswich Jets that he’s proud of and hopes to continue.

“I’ve always wanted to be involved as a sponsor with the Jets, as I’ve always loved Sandy and I can’t wait to take people with me to the home games and enjoy the day. There are people who I have bonded with at the Jets that have formed friendships with me to last a lifetime,” Paul said. “Once you’re a jet, you’re always a jet.

“I just want to see the club do well this year, especially in their 40th year. I think the new coach will shake things up. The forwards, the younger players coming through, they will bond with Crossy (Coach Ben Cross) and want to play well for him. He’s a real people person, I’ve noticed that.”

Paul has noticed a lot of changes in his industry and has found that today people are returning to suburban butchers for many reasons.

“Butchery has changed over time, people today want quick meals, so its about the value-adds, like crumbed meat, marinated meat and slow cooked meats, you don’t get that everywhere,” Paul said.

“I think people are coming back to local butchers over supermarkets because they want service. I know if I don’t get the service I expect then I walk out and I go elsewhere. I make sure everyone who comes to my shop gets greeted with a smile, and I’m always happy to talk about the jets!”

When Paul is asked about what his butchers in famous for, he said two things. One for you, and one for your best mate.

“People love my tomahawk steaks, so come and try them, plus I have perfected a great range of pet food called Doggie Delights,” he said. “All up it’s taken me about 3 years to get the recipe right and it’s all natural, 100%, and your dog will love it!”

Blackall Street Butchery is open from 7am six days a week at Blackall Street, Basin Pocket – ask for Paul and tell him you’re a Jets fan!