MORE than 130 people packed into the Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre last Saturday evening to celebrate the 90th birthday of local valuation company Walsh and Monaghan.
The event also marked the retirement of former director John Austin.
Mr Austin, who was a company director for 34 years until 2005, officially retired after 53 years as a valuer, 42 of which were at Walsh and Monaghan.
Current directors Darren Austin, Murray Allen, Andrew Kelkert, Adam Hopcroft and Neil Menzies hosted the gathering to mark the special occasion.
Darren Austin said reaching 90 years was a big achievement for any business, particularly a regional valuation practice.
“We are certainly very proud of the fact,” he said.
But he said equally impressive were the numbers of his father, John.
“It has been 53 years that John has been a valuer; 42 of those he has worked at Walsh and Monaghan and 34 as a partner,” he said.
“There are those who have known and worked with John, who have commented on his retirement that they’ll believe he’s retiring when they see it.
“But, yes, it has happened.
“He has enormous knowledge and experience in the field and has always been willing to share it with other members of our team and even with visiting valuers who call in for help.
“He has been an inspiration to many regional valuers, showing that you don’t have to be city based to have a successful career. He was also on the Valuation Standards Board, he is a fellow of the API and is held in high regard in the Land and Environment Court, Family Law Court and others.”
The crowd was a combination of friends, clients, former clients, staff and former staff and directors, with Mr Austin specially thanking the families of a couple of former directors, namely Ken Leonard’s wife Gwen, and Brian Walsh’s wife Eulalie and their two daughters for attending.
The names Walsh and Monaghan were synonymous with the early Shoalhaven settlers, with a descendant of the Walsh family being the first white woman born south of the Shoalhaven River and a Monaghan the first white man.
In 1923, Ulrich Walsh and Stan Monaghan, both farmers, decided to become stock and station agents and opened an office in the P. Walsh and Sons building in Junction Street, about 150 metres from where the business is now located, and a cattle saleyard near the corner of North and Osborne streets.
The company has flourished over the years, under a host of partners and directors, with names like Brian Walsh, Col Bice and Ken Leonard as well as a number of others who played significant roles in the success of the business. Today the company has offices in Nowra and Wollongong.