KINGSTON livestock agent and auctioneer Peter Cooper is hanging up his gavel nearly 50 years to the day of starting in the job.
Typical of many stock agents, his career has involved many moves, mainly in the South East, including 23 years with Southern Australian Livestock.
At one stage, he reckons he knew who owned nearly every one of the properties along the Princes Highway, from Salt Creek to Dartmoor.
Peter's voice has had a commanding presence, selling countless pens of livestock. He has had many long-time clients.
It all began when Peter landed his first job with Coles Bros as an office boy in August, 1963, after leaving Urrbrae Agricultural High School.
The Adelaide business was a large bloodstock company, which also had branches in the Barossa and Mid North selling livestock.
He remembers a testing initiation to his first market at Stockport.
"One of the people from Coles Bros picked me up at 5.30am and that day I helped load 50 sheep vans by crawling the whole way through the train," he said.
It was not long before he was selling calves at Gepps Cross market.
Peter remembers fondly attending the first auctioneer school at the site of the old drive-in at O'Halloran Hill.
Gawler was Peter's first job "on the road" where he would auctioneer at weekly sundry, horse and livestock sales. He also helped develop a successful poultry auction.
"It got that big that we had to build more wire cages on the weekends, and at special times of the year we would have had 3000 to 4000 chooks," he said.
There was also plenty of practise when he moved with Coles Bros to Saddleworth, covering weekly sales at Angaston, Eudunda and Stockport.
"You have got to get the values right. You have got to have a good rapport with the buyers and good flow of voice." Peter said.
"I never had any problem selling without a microphone."
•Full report in Stock Journal, August 22 issue, 2013.