Orchardists Bernard and Fiona Hall have bought five apple and cherry properties at a major auction in Orange on Wednesday for a total of $8.15 million.
The properties included the Caernarvon orchard, the adjacent packing shed complex and the historic Canobolas Dance Hall.
Mr Hall said he had owned about 50 per cent equity in each of the properties either with his brother, Tim, or with trust shareholders but he had decided to buy them out by taking the properties to a public auction.
Caernarvon, including the dance hall on Canobolas Road, sold for $2.4 million, the packing shed sold for $2.2 million, Melrose on Nancarrow Lane sold for $2.1 million, Brooklyn on Nancarrow Lane sold for $800,000 and Valley View on Nancarrow Lane sold for $650,000.
On the Hall family's behalf, agent Peter Crampton outbid a packed room at Duntryleague in the auction run by Hugh Bateman, from Mudgee, for the selling agents Peter Fisher Real Estate in Orange.
Mr Hall, who was not at the auction, said the family was delighted with the result.
He said, allowing for his existing equity, he would end up paying about $4 million for the properties.
Mr Hall said they had decided a public auction was the fairest way to try to buy the properties outright and keep the family business, started by his parents, Fred and Pam, in the 1970s, going.
"I'm as happy as a pig in mud. It's kept my parents' legacy going. That was one of the driving forces behind this," he said.
Mr Hall said his father moved to the region from Sydney in 1972.
"He had six kids and no money. He was a sparkie [electrician] from Bonnyrigg. He dragged us up here, horses and all," he said.
Mr Hall said his parents were now living in Orange.
He said the result was also good for the Orange orchard industry as they could continue to operate the packing shed and business for the region.
"We contract-pack for 25 local growers. They're all happy now. We'll consolidate and move on up," he said.
Mr Hall said he had received calls within an hour of the auction from people interested in buying the smaller of the five properties.
"The phone has been running hot," he said.
Peter Fisher Real Estate residential and rural specialist Michael Wright said the auction had seen "quite a strong result" for the industry.
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