Mildura Weekly : Friday June 27 Vol 8 No 34
Mildura Weekly – 27/06/14 21 www.milduraphonebook.com.au IN THE RIVERLAND THIS WEEK Bev Story (08) 8588 7203 or email firstname.lastname@example.org THE Riverland has a well-de- served reputation for produc- ing superstars in their various fields – and now we have our first SA Golden Gavel Cham- pion. Elders Loxton’s Bronte Manuel had his first foray into auctioneering competition only last year, but went over the allotted time – losing a lot of points as a result. His ef- forts, however, impressed the judges, and Bronte was one of five contestants chosen to un- dergo further training. And it’s paid off in spades. This year Bronte, 25, won the prestigious Golden Gavel award – joining an elite club of auctioneers. He is the youngest person to win the title...the first from Elders... and only the second person from a regional agency to achieve the feat. It wasn’t an easy road. Bronte first had to qualify for the finals, then out do two- time winner Lindsay Warner, who finished runner-up, and another two-time winner in Michael Fenn. The Society of Auctioneers and Appraisers SA runs the an- nual competition, which this year had finalists ‘auctioning’ the historic Carrick Hill prop- erty at Springfield in Adelaide. The English-style manor, built in 1939, is set on 40 hectares and contains a large collec- tion of drawings, sculptures, antiques and paintings. It was the home of Sir Ed- ward and Lady Ursula Hay- ward, and bequeathed to the State after Sir Edward’s death in 1983. As such it is one of few period homes in Australia to have survived with grounds intact, and retaining most of its original contents – provid- ing a suitable challenge for the ‘Clayton’s’ auction. Finalists had only 16 min- utes to strut their stuff, barely enough time to cover the legal description of the property, entice bids, and keep prospec- tive ‘buyers’ interested. A panel of eight judges scored finalists on their ability to persuade seven bidders to up their bids on the property. The bidders had practised for two weeks to ensure they fol- lowed the same script for each contestant. The ‘auction’ was held in the Art Gallery of SA amphitheatre, with the group taken to the venue by bus. “We had no idea where we were going,” Bronte said. The bus went past Mercedes College and then some gum trees – giving him hope they were going to a rural property, before going around a corner and seeing “a castle.” The group had half an hour to look over the 97 acres, and a house that is big- ger than most normal blocks of land. They were then given two hours to prepare. It was during that time that Bronte decided on his tactics for the auction. “I thought I would relate it to a fairytale,” he said, recall- ing some of his selling points to buyers being; ‘You will be looking and waiting for Ra- punzel’s hair to drop off that top lookout...this will make you feel like you’re taking part in a true fairytale,’ and; ‘You’ll be left questioning whether it’s a dream, or an everyday reality’ among his lines. Other notable lines from Bronte (when no one was bidding) included; “Absorb- ing that tranquillity...good to see,” and other banter to keep the auction moving, a tactic that wasn’t lost on judges, who commented on his lines; “How’s the serenity, the sense of isolation?” “This property will remain iconic forever” and, “I’m getting so excited, ladies and gentlemen.” Contestants were scored on their creative skills, as well as their ability to cope with “difficult” bidders, and stalls in bidding. “They are trying to take control of the auction, but you have to be in control,” Bronte said. “It needs to be through humour – it is how you deliver it.” His comments to one couple who were arguing: “You work that one out ...the house is big enough for sepa- rate wings.” Auctioneers were faced with a woman attempting to bid in Chinese in an attempt to rattle them, as well as hav- ing to keep track of multi-mil- lion dollar bids. Bronte dealt with that by asking the man sitting next to her to interpret for him. “Normally when I do an auction I feel very confident – IfeellikeIamonmyfront foot,” he said. With this one, I felt like I was on my back foot. It was pretty intense.” The auction started with an opening bid of $15 mil- lion. At $22 million the bid was upped by $15 million, and Bronte had to be aware of the price increases, while still keeping things moving. The finalists were locked away without their phones while the other contestants conducted their auction. Bronte wasn’t confident, even sending a text to his partner to say he had “done poorly.” But he got up. The win comes after Bronte initially studied to be a massage thera- pist and personal trainer on leaving school, before go- ing into real estate for an- other company in 2008, as a 19-year-old. He moved to Elders two years ago. Both Bronte and Lindsay will now take on the best from other Australian states, plus New Zealand, for the Australasian title in Auck- land in October. They will be given their instructions on October 21 before competing over the following two days. Bronte said he will face far more experienced auctioneers in New Zealand. “Jason Andrew, who won the Queensland title, owns a company that does 3000 auc- tions a year,” Bronte said. “He does 1500 of those himself. Auckland was won by Daniel Coulson – he averages 30 auc- tions a week. “I do probably one a fort- night – an average of 30 a year....but my aim is to push that up to about 50.” Bronte won a $2500 holi- day as his SA Golden Gavel prize, and will use that for his New Zealand trip. But the biggest prize is winning the Golden Gavel title, and Bron- te already plans to defend his SA title next year. Bronte was keeping up his auctioneering skills on Satur- day, on a voluntary basis for St Peters Lutheran Church, at a clearing sale between Berri and Loxton. Loxton’s Bronte Manuel, 25, is a rising star in the world of Riverland real estate, where the ability to ad lib and keep the patter (and price) moving are ingredients for auctioneering success. Mildura Weekly journalist BEV STORY meets... The man with a Golden touch • READY, WILLING AND ABLE: SA Golden Gavel winner Bronte Manuel was keeping up his auctioneering skills last Saturday at a clearing sale between Berri and Loxton, and RIGHT: Gavel at the ready outside Elders Loxton. Bird sale Sunday The Riverland Birdkeepers Club will host its annual bird sale on Sunday. The venue will be the Riverland Exhibition Centre (Field Days site) at Barmera. Exhibitors offering their birds for sale come from all over South Australia as well as interstate, and the variety of birds usually ranges from small finches and budgeri- gars through various species of parrots right up to large cockatoos. Admission to the sale is $2 per adult. Children are free. Trading of birds only takes place between noon and 2pm. The remainder of the day can be used to browse the many trade stands offering a huge array of bird products. Food and drinks will be available and raffles (includ- ing a number of free ones for children) will be held during the day. MILDURA 126 Lime Avenue T (03) 5021 1968 | BERRI 20 Kay Avenue T (08) 8582 2211 | www.chan-naylor.com.au PROTECTING YOUR ASSETS Protecting your assets against frivolous creditors is increasingly becoming a common concern. Traditionally people have used trusts to protect their assets. A trust is useful in this regard as the individual does not own the asset; it is owned by the trust. 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