Growing up on a Brahman stud on the Clarence River, Innes Fahey already had an idea of how to sell a bull when he was offered a job after he left school with Grafton livestock agent Ray Donovan.
“I found myself working in the agency game instead of jackarooing up north,” recalled Mr Fahey. The meeting proved fortuitous in many ways which included his personal life – by eventually marrying the boss’s daughter and raising a new generation just as interested in the art of breeding and marketing good cattle.
As a young auctioneer Mr Fahey was given free rein to perform from the rostrum, even when faced with hard-nosed commercial buyers who only wanted to slow a sale down.
“Those buyers would bring me back a peg or two,” he recalled. But I thank Ray for having confidence in me, and for giving me every opportunity.”
In 2002 Mr Fahey found himself competing and winning at the state level in the young auctioneers’ competition – and with it a trip to New Zealand. This success was followed by another first at the national titles of young auctioneer of the year in 2002 and he was presented with his trophy by Macleay country singer Slim Dusty.
A journey to New Zealand and then Calgary followed, mixing it with some of the best in the auctioneering industry, although Mr Fahey was less impressed with some of the fancy patter – especially when clients could barely understand the language.
A full year followed in North America, working on properties and gaining experience as an auctioneer. Three months spent with Brahman breeders JD Hudgins Ranch at Hungerford, Texas, was particularly educational, as the Fahey family breed their own Brahman bulls.
Upon his return to Australia Mr Fahey was approached by Peter Daniel and Noel Grant of GDL to work in their Dalby, Qld office, and the young auctioneer relished becoming involved with true Brahman country.
At first Mr Fahey was immersed in the stud stock side of sales, learning from the likes of Garth Hughes, who was with Landmark at the time, and he furthered his patter under the influence of Gary Greer and Bill Till.
Mr Fahey started selling bulls with Dangerfield Santa Gertrudis stud, at Taroom, Qld, with other sales to follow at the Ag-Grow Emerald field days and the Big Country Brahman bull sale at Charters Towers.
“Having been born and bred on a Brahman stud I had a fair knowledge of the stud game and I enjoyed that side of things,” Mr Fahey said.
“It’s easier to describe an animal to a prospective buyer if you have that background and I enjoy putting those things together; joining the commercial side of the industry with the stud business.”
These days Mr Fahey works on a contract basis, his most famous of gigs being the auctioneer at the annual Yulgilbar Santa Gertrudis stud bull sale in September. The son of Baillieu Myer and Sarah Hordern, Sid, has been quoted as saying he loves the sound of Mr Fahey’s voice.
“It is imperative that people understand the auctioneer, that he’s not just a flash talker,” Mr Fahey says. “An auctioneer must be clear and precise. They need to be heard and understood.”