Auctioneer Jim Hindmarsh’s dulcet tones are part of southern highlands livestock lore. For nearly 40 years this fast talker with his distinctive auction chant has cajoled cattle buyers at saleyards from Goulburn to Picton. A former wallaby fullback who earnt five international caps for Australia in the 1970s, Jim now splits his time between moss Vale and Kiama, where he and wife Robbie plan to retire one day.
What do you love about the Southern Highlands? The winters, the atmosphere and the accessibility.
Are you a born and bred local? Yes, born and bred in Mittagong. I’m fifth generation local.
How many years do you need to live here to be considered part of the furniture? No time limit. It depends more on getting involved in local activities, not years spent here.
This is still very much a farming region – what are the biggest challenges facing farmers? The cost of maintaining and improving pasture.
What is the future of farming in the Southern Highlands? There will always be farms with livestock here, but only dairy farmers and potato farmers will be able to truly ‘live o~ the land’.
As an auctioneer you have spent your life using your voice to sell. What’s key? Knowing the values of your livestock and achieving them. And knowing who your buyers will be.
The rural outlook of the Highlands has changed markedly in the past decade. What worries you? Properties not being managed properly, and owners not putting anything back into their farms.
Your son Ben has now taken on some of the family business. What’s the best piece of advice you can give him? Honesty is paramount.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Know your values and achieve them.
What do you love about your life? Family. Being close to Kiama. And work.
What’s your biggest gripe? Running late.
What advice would you give your younger self? Keep looking until you find a career you enjoy. Make sure it is something you would be happy doing for the rest of your life.
What’s your favourite place to go in the area and why? The family farm on Range Road in Mittagong, where I grew up, and Kiama, where I plan to retire one day.
You have 11 grandchildren. Your advice to them? Develop a good work ethic. Always respect your elders.
And, finally, you spend your working life talking. Out of hours are you verbose or a man of few words? I still like a chat but after doing so much talking for work, I tend to switch out of hours if I don’t find the conversation interesting.