TO work in any role for over 50 years is a testament not only to how much you enjoy it, but also to how good you are at it, and this is certainly the case for local man, Barry Manning.
Barry has just retired from working on the Stewart’s farm at ‘The Pines’ for over 52 years, a massive milestone in anyone’s book.
Barry enjoyed a retirement dinner to mark the occasion last Saturday night at the Heritage Restaurant, with the Stewarts, family, and friends all offering their congratulations and well wishes.
Reflecting on his time on the farm, Barry said that he wouldn’t have stayed so long if he hadn’t enjoyed his job and gotten on so well both with the Stewarts, and the people of neighbouring properties, all of whom he sincerely thanks.
Barry began working at ‘The Pines’ in December of 1959 at the age of 15. After finishing school he had worked briefly at Moreings before joining Leo Murphy at Stewart’s, where he also later worked with Leo’s son Noel, his own father, Sid, and then Timmy Stewart.
Over the years he also worked alongside his brothers, Jimmy, Kevin, Bob and Rex, and there were a series of casuals working on the property throughout his time there.
Naturally over that many years, Barry has seen plenty of changes unfold on the farm.
“In the early days there were no cross bred sheep, only merino wethers, but that gradually changed,” he said.
“All the prime lambs went into Bombala to be killed and sold at Stewart’s butchery, and we used to fatten steer calves which were also butchered in Bombala. It all happened locally then.”
Barry said that in the later years he mostly worked on the farm alone, and contractors were used for the bigger jobs like weed spraying and fencing.
Perhaps softening the blow from finishing up at ‘The Pines’ all together, Barry says he has a few jobs he still wants to complete on the property even after he retires.
He’ll lend a hand with crutching and other bigger tasks, and will be keeping an eye on the water system at ‘The Pines’ as well.
And of course he isn’t really aiming for an idle retirement, looking forward to working on his ‘Stockport’ property with his brother Jimmy, as well as some smaller blocks near Cathcart.
“I could’ve stayed on longer, but really wanted to work on our own land for a while,” he said.
In between all this he hopes to find a bit of time for some gardening.
And how did he feel last Friday on his last official day after over half a century working on ‘The Pines’?
“It’s been pretty busy and I haven’t really had time to think about it,” he said.