Bob calls time

26 May, 2013 02:00 AM
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Elders Kondinin agent Bob Peake is retiring after 48 years and six months with the company. He has spent his entire working career with Elders since starting as a 15-year-old.
Elders Kondinin agent Bob Peake is retiring after 48 years and six months with the company. He has spent his entire working career with Elders since starting as a 15-year-old.

THESE days it's rare to find a person who has spent their entire working life with one company.

But nestled in the Wheatbelt town of Kondinin is Bob Peake, a man that has pulled on the Elders uniform every day for the last 48 and a half years.

The time has come for Bob to hang his iconic pink shirt in the cupboard for the last time on June 30 as he prepares for retirement from the job he loves.

Leaving school at the age of 15, Bob attended an Elders career exhibition and jumped at the chance to work for the company, starting in the mail room at the Perth base.

He moved to the accounts department before working in the Midland saleyards for 19 months, which was an unofficial training ground for Elders stockmen and true test of character.

"Sometimes during the busy periods, I would be up at 3.45am and wouldn't get home until after 9pm once all the rail trucks had been loaded," Bob said.

"It certainly toughened us up."

From there he was transferred to Esperance as a ledger keeper, working his way through the ranks at branches such as Pingelly, Corrigin, Narembeen, Cranbrook and Kojonup until he eventually landed in Kondinin in 1983.

It was here Bob and his wife Pat settled and took on the Elders agency in 1994, working hard to establish their business and achieve the best results for their clients.

"At times you could say that I was married to Elders more than my wife, but luckily she's an understanding woman," Bob joked.

"It really is one of the best jobs.

"It's always interesting, you're out in the fresh air, working with good people and you essentially become your own boss if you do the work and get the results.

"It's a great lifestyle and I've enjoyed working at every place I have lived.

"Sheep, wool, real estate, insurance, merchandise - what other job in the world can give you those opportunities?"

He said even though the last few years had been tough in the Wheatbelt, it was the spirit of the community that kept them all going.

"The last 12 months have been tough going, we couldn't sell many sheep and the average season didn't help, it's definitely been the most difficult in all my years in the job," Bob said.

"But at the end of the day, people understand you can't do the impossible, you have to do the best you can and help people to the best of your ability."

Other changes in Bob's working career in the agricultural industry include the huge technological advances, particularly with mobile phones and the entire communication process.

Many saleyards in smaller towns have closed, ear tags have revolutionised sheep identification and a lot more on-farm, over the hook and online selling has streamlined the market.

Even with these advances, Bob said he still worked just as hard, so now was the time to take a step back, start relaxing a little and maybe start to travel.

"In this business you have to be here 365 days a year and work 100 per cent flat out," he said.

"But I'm not getting any younger.

"I have reached that point in my life when I want to do other things, enjoy spending time with my wife and family.

"I'll certainly miss it, but it's time to let someone else have a go."

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READER COMMENTS

Colin Wilson
26/05/2013 7:39:13 AM, on Farm Weekly

Congradulations Bob. Now is the time to enjoy the second part of your life.

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