Ken Cartwright pauses a moment and looks across his top paddock.
“This is my whole life,” he says.
More than six decades of farming history is assembled at his Judds Creek property, in central western NSW, ready to be auctioned off.
Rolls of twine, jumper leads, a jumble of cake tins and dusty boxes of nuts and 대형중고화물차매매 bolts are laid out on the tray of a truck.
Parked by the fence are a tractor Mr Cartwright’s father bought in 1949, a lemon yellow paddock basher and a “double ripper” bulldozer.
Nearby is the little white van he and wife Lee drove, carrying bunches of freshly-harvested lavender to local farmers markets over the years.
A Southern Cross windmill is prostrate on the grass.
Clearing sales are a long-held country tradition, usually hosted by farmers emptying their sheds after selling their land.
Having endured the drought, which put paid to their small lavender crop, the Cartwrights moved to a house in nearby Bathurst three years ago.
After selling off parcels of land, the remaining 80 acres will be put on the market, closing the book on farming for them.
Now 75, Mr Cartwright has been raising sheep and cattle and growing crops since he was 16.His family has farmed in the district for more than a century.
If anything, he’s pragmatic.
“There’s a sense of achievement or maybe relief,” he says.
“I’m plenty old enough to retire.”
While sometimes poignant for a farmer, clearing sales are colourful events, a chance for neighbours to catch-up, share a laugh and take a break from working on the land.
The agents at this sale, Marcus Schembri and 19-year-old Henry Pitman, stir the crowd up with a cry of “sale-o, sale-o, sale-o” before auctioning the first items: folding chairs, a lounge suite and a pool table.
The agents and their offsiders entertain the gathering with banter and improvised pitches.
A cattle prod: “Look at the ol’ biting dog.”
A corrugated iron outhouse: “Just dig a hole and you’re in business!”
For a fishing boat: “Take it to Bonnie Doon!”
The sale is one of the first on-farm auctions in the district since COVID sent many online.
Auctions Plus, a website listing machinery, property and 대형중고화물차매매 livestock, hosts clearing sales across Australia.
Chief economist Tim McRae says the pandemic accelerated a digital shift, with agents and vendors finding they could save time, energy and 대형중고화물차매매 long days of travel.
Buyers also like the option of looking through photos of items rather than getting caught in the heat of the moment at an on-farm auction, he says.
“Those who go to clearing sales know the value of everything from a bale of second-hand star pickets, to hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of harvesters and tractors.
“If you turn up to one, you’ll get something.You might not go home with the 1978 Land Cruiser you’re looking for but with a box of miscellaneous bolts.
“Buyers like having numerous days to do their numbers and really dig deep into something.”
Many online buyers end up going to the property to “kick the tyres” and collect their items.Mr McRae says online and on-farm sales will always complement each other.
“For many people attending, it’s a vibe like saleyards, where there’s a catch-up to see who else is there and who is looking at what you’re looking at.
“That has always been part of the fabric of clearing sales but I think the convenience of online sales has been underestimated by a lot of producers.”
Mr McRae admits there’s something to be said for the barbecues at sales run by volunteers from the local public school or Lions Club.
The Mount Panorama Lions Club caters the Cartwrights’ sale, offering sizzling steak sandwiches, bacon and egg rolls, and generous cups of tea and instant coffee.
President Sue Longmore says clearing sales give the charity a chance to visit rural areas and reach people who may not know how to ask for help.
“When they come to order their coffee you’re just chatting to them and sometimes you pick up on things,” she says.
“We can say to them, ‘We can help with that or we’re here if you ever need to talk to us.’
Looking around, she says: “People are glad to be back, moving around amongst their peers and contemporaries and their community.”
At the end of the sale, Mr Cartwright watches as trucks tow away his old machinery to become part of someone else’s history.
He looks forward to spending his days with Lee and tending to his much smaller top paddock.
“We’ve had a shed in the backyard and everything we wanted.
“It takes about an hour to mow the grass every Sunday, so that’s just about right.”