The curtain fell on more than 120 years of tradition this week when the last cattle sale was held at Warrnambool's saleyards.
The yards are now closed, six months earlier than the city council had planned after a controversial closure vote in November.
Saleyards and cattle sales have been a constant in an ever-changing Warrnambool. They were held at Swan Reserve as early as the 1890s before moving to Caramut Road in 1970. They have been more than a trading place; a meeting place for farmers, a community hub.
But a massive projected cost to bring the yards to modern standards and private competition at Mortlake condemned the council-run facility to (rich economic and social) history pages on which the city has thrived. The yards are a case of gone but never forgotten.
The council's decision to close the yards was symbolic of 2022 - a year when the winds of change blew hard across the city.
A fabulous new $20m library and learning hub opened on the South West TAFE site - a joint project with the council - in October. It was the culmination of years of planning by the previous councillors and administrators.
Warrnambool finally has an elite-level playing surface after the $10.7m Reid Oval redevelopment was completed although the spectator facilities and amenities need further refinement. The jewel in the city's crown - Lake Pertobe - underwent a major makeover with a controversial giant slide among upgraded play equipment.
A new Edwards Bridge was constructed over the Merri River in Stanley Street and the city's boat ramp - the worst in the state - was upgraded. The first stage of the $384m Warrnambool Base Hospital redevelopment is underway, so too a $23m hycel hydrogen technology hub at Warrnambool's Deakin University campus.
There has been a lot of change this year in a physical sense and a lot to celebrate. There remains plenty more to do. What's next for the saleyards site could well be the story of 2023.
But gazing into the crystal ball, sadly the state of the region's roads will trump it.
Our dilapidated and crumbling roads were already bad before late spring rain flooded parts of the region. After years of campaigning, the new federal Labor government slashed unspent funds set aside for the Princes Highway west of Colac by $40 million. There is seemingly no light at the end of the tunnel. From all at The Standard, we wish you and your families a happy, prosperous and safe new year. May it be one of celebrations rather than commiserations like those at the saleyards earlier this week.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.