If you were to label the biggest rivalries in Orange, you might judge Group 10’s Hawks and CYMS or Emus and City as the biggest rivalry, but the 19-way tussle for the real estate market is one of the harshest competitions in town.
As such, it’s not often you see rival real estate agents working together, which is what made the sight of 15 of Orange’s 19 real estate agents coming together to donate towards drought relief so special.
Each agency donated $1000 to drought relief, which Gary Blowes, who initiated the get-together, said will be given to Rural Aid to fund 280 hampers to be given to farmers in need across NSW.
Rural Aid direct funds and resources where they are needed most, all across the state, but the one that appealed to Mr Blowes was the hampers which contain food and other essentials all locally sourced from shops and supermarkets in the affected communities.
He said the donations – both from agents on Thursday and from the huge groundswell of community support in recent weeks – was indicative of the good nature of the people and businesses of Orange, with schools, businesses and community members all pledging support in recent weeks.
“I’ve been an agent in town for 44 years and there will always be people who get behind a good cause and this is one,” he said.
Everyone had a smile on their face and everyone was pleased to see each other, and we could all get in and contribute together.First National Real Estate's Tom Campbell
“Agents are pretty good people, really.
“My wife and I were sitting at home watching TV and I said to Sue ‘we should give some money’, and I thought $1000 doesn’t make that big an impact so I came to work on Monday morning and sent off 19 emails and got 15 responses.”
He said some agents in town called up saying they were already donating through other means, which Mr Blowes said he had no issue with.
“It was never meant to force anyone into it but it was nice to see so many were prepared to get behind it,” he said.
“It’s nice to see we can do something.
”We’re all in competition with each other and it’s an aggressive industry but you see us get together here and laugh and joke, it’s quite pleasant for a change instead of sneaking around the back door,” he laughed.
All 15 agencies had no hesitation in jumping onboard, with First National Bowyer & Livermore’s Tom Campbell saying it was a “very easy decision”.
“We’re obviously rural based companies in rural-based areas and we’re obviously around a big area of the Central West and the tablelands that are doing it tough at the very minute,” he said.
“A lot of people out there are spending a lot of money at the moment with tens of thousands of dollars to keep not just their livestock but themselves and their family rolling.
“Walking in here this morning everyone had a smile on their face and everyone was pleased to see each other, and we could all get in and contribute together, and it’s not something we do very often so it’s great to see it happening.”
Peter Fisher Real Estate’s Michael Wright said drought was etched into the long memories of agents in town.
“We went through something like this in the 1980s so it brings back some memories,” he said.
“This is a fantastic initiative by the local real-estate agents here and it follows the groundswell that seems to be happening state-wide, most of us have a rural background and we can well appreciate how hard it is for farmers.”
This week the Department of Primary Industries declared 100 per cent of NSW was in drought.