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Peter Milling Peter Milling & Com­pany The firm was started in 1914

by my grand­fa­ther, so we’re 105 years old. He gave me my first job in the agency busi­ness not very long af­ter I left school and I’ve been at it ever since. My grand­fa­ther, my fa­ther, four un­cles, three cousins, a daugh­ter and an aunt have all been stock and sta­tion agents, so I was des­tined to be­come one too.

I was mar­ried to a lovely lady for 53 years and lost her 10 years ago. Well I was

lucky – I found one that was mar­vel­lous. She helped me in my busi­ness and she was a great sup­port, so any credit I’d give to her.

I was Chair­man of the Dubbo Stock & Sta­tion Agents, the NSW Stock &

Sta­tion Agents and what we call the fed­eral body of stock and sta­tion agents around Aus­tralia.

There have ob­vi­ously been ma­jor changes in the in­dus­try,

par­tic­u­larly in the way stock are sold. Live weight sell­ing came in back in the 1970s and it’s been very, very suc­cess­ful. Com­put­erised sell­ing has been strug­gling up un­til re­cently but now they’ve started to per­fect it.

We had a year­ling sale here for 45 years, un­til last year. The in­dus­try has

changed to the point of where the breed­ers would send us year­lings, good qual­ity year­lings, but un­for­tu­nately our buy­ers here are mostly coun­try train­ers and they haven’t got the money to buy them.

I’ve very much en­joyed be­ing a stock and sta­tion agent. You can get up of

a morn­ing and go to work and you don’t know where you’re go­ing to fin­ish up that day. A very fa­mous man called H.D. Bell, Henry Bell, was a very good friend of mine and a client. He rang me one morn­ing at seven o’clock at home and he said, “Peter, I’ve got some cat­tle in the sale yards I’d like you to have a look at.” I said, “H.D., I’ve got a fair bit on to­day.” He told me it won’t take long – half an hour. And at the time he was liv­ing next door to me. I picked him up in five min­utes, we went to the sale yards, looked at the cat­tle and we booked into a pub that night in Narrabri without a tooth­brush be­tween us.

You see, if you’re a farmer, you get up of the morn­ing and you know you’re go­ing to plough the back pad­dock or drench the wean­ers and you know ex­actly what you’re go­ing to do. When you’re an agent, you can guar­an­tee that on ev­ery day of your life some­thing will hap­pen that you don’t ex­pect. That’s prob­a­bly why I’ve en­joyed my life as an agent, be­cause it’s the un­ex­pected that keeps you in­trigued, isn’t it?

As a stock and sta­tion agent, you make friend­ships as you are deal­ing with peo­ple

on a con­tin­u­ing ba­sis. I’m still deal­ing with the fam­ily that was the first client my grand­fa­ther ever had in 1914.

- Photo by Sophia Rouse, in­ter­view by Darcee Nixon

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