Living in the beautiful country village of Millthorpe in the central west of New South Wales, Australia.
I was an Auctioneer from 1988 to 2000, and then I had a second-hand shop till 2015 In Orange, not far from where I live now. I then closed the physical shop and transferred all my stock online to this web page.
I have been working as a Drug and Alcohol Therapist for 17 years 2016 to 2023, and now I am an NDIS Support Coordinator.
Back in the 1950s My Grand Father (Frank Snr), My Grandmother (Louise), and My Mother (Monica) at the time 8 years old came to Australia. They were, enticed to Australia thanks to a scream the Australian Government had to bring young families with a trade to bring with them. It was a contract of sorts, The Government would pay for the trip to Australia with the condition that they would live where the government told them to Live, work in the industry the government told them to work and assimilate into the culture of Australia. That means they were prohibited from speaking their mother tongue, Austrian, a German Dialect, in public. Frank Snr. was a diesel mechanic and Louse was a Red Cross Nurse. Frank Snr. worked on an asparagus farm after having some time at a Fridge factory in Orange. On the frame, he saved enough money to take out a loan to buy a block of land in Orange.
They built a house at 1 Tynan Street Orange in the 1950s. you can see that this looks to be on the edge of town. Now, all that frame land is now full of houses. My Grandfather made all the bricks by hand with the brick machine that moulded 2 bricks at a time. He made a Mechanic pit in the garage so he could work under the cars when he was a diesel mechanic. the pictures to the left here are of when they were building the house. When I was younger I always dreamed about buying the place back. I recall having the front bedroom when I was about 7 or 8 years old. That was the coldest room in the house in winter.
As Louise was working in a hospital and my Grandfather was working as a mechanic. My grandmother had the opportunity to buy a Disposal Store. At first, selling clothing and then selling small goods and furniture and guns. My grandmother was starting to make more money than my grandfather. So Frank Snr. stopped being a mechanic and joined his wife in the second-hand game. This proved to be a good business to be in. He joined the local brass band and played lawn bowls. He loved Orange and the people in Orange.
In 1971 Frank Snr. bought a site right across the road from the railway station. and build an Auction house at the rear of the property. Where we help Auctions since early 1972, and our last Auction was held in 2000. It was a family business for all that time selling deceased estates, bank ruptures, and items that people wanted to sell. In the 1980s we also help pawnbroker auctions. It was a good time to grow up.
In the 70s my brother and I were born and grew up with the whole family working together and living together. That’s me on the left with John. I did not get to know my father as he chose that life would be better without us. Later in life, we heard that he wanted to come back but on his journey to be reunited, he passed away, lost at sea.
My Grandfather, Old Frank did many charity auctions over the years. He did it for two reasons. He felt blessed that Australia took him in and he gave to charities that helped people. He conducted auctions for the Lions Club, Blind Society, PCYC, Apex Club, and Schools. The pictures on the left show pictures of one auction for Kinross Wolaroi School that he conducted. He also taught the students to be auctioneers. I would guess that he would have raised millions of dollars for charity. When I became old enough I also joined him in organising auctions.
My Brother Martin and I started working in the family business as we matured. I recall getting 50 cents pay on Saturdays and Sundays when I was around 6 to 10 years old to pick up cigarette buts. Back then you could buy a meat pie for 20 cents and a stake sandwich for 50 cents. and 5 cents could buy you a fist full of lollies. The Auctions that were our family business, were held on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons.
Old Frank and Gertrude meet at the airport for the first time since they were separated during World War II
In 1995 my mother Monica received a phone call from a lady claiming to be my grandfather’s sister. Monica thought someone was ringing and saying this as a cruel joke, but was wise enough to get her to call back in a day or two. Monica quizzed Old Frank about his sister. Old Frank told her that she is dead and dies in the war. He stated, “She would have been taken to a concentration camp like me, she could not have survived”. Anyway, Monica quizzed him for some details, nicknames, and small things that they did together before things went bad. Old Frank told Monica how he used to give her a kiss and then hammer the kiss in so the love will never leave.
Old Frank asked her how she got our contact details. Gertrude lived in Saarbrücken in Germany. Gertrude told us that she was on holiday in Klagenfurt, Austria and that she was talking to some people on the bus in the city and that she was a Smolle, and grew up there in Klagenfurt. Someone on the bus overheard this and asked her if she knew Franz Smolle. She was astonished and asked about Old Frank. She was told that he was on holiday last year and was showing his grandchildren around. She was told which guesthouse stayed in. Gertrude went to the guest house and got my grandfather’s phone number from one of the Hollenburg Singers. This is how My grandfather’s sister tracked him down after they both thought that each did not survive the war. It did not take long for Gertrude to jump on a plane and fly over to see my grandfather. First, she came by herself and then her son came over with his wife and 2 children.
The mare of Orange at the time and Frank with Gertrude
Friday nights we sold small stuff as you see on this web page. On Saturdays, we would sell Furniture. It was a good business at the time. We kept the family business going for as long as we could. But we kept going for about 10 years when our grandparents passed away. But the three of us, My mother, brother and I, could not keep the business going as I developed a back injury, from moving a lot of furniture.
2000 was the Last year that we held Auctions. I believe our last Auction was a charity auction for the PCYC. This is when we enrolled into University. I gained my BA in Social Science (Psychology), really a degree with no real value for large NGOs or Government organisations. I started working at a Drug and Alcohol Residential unit. At the unit, I worked in many of the positions. I did research, on the clients’ perspectives and their fears of entering a Rehab and exiting a Rehab. I also spent a lot of time in the counselling position, on the WHS committee for years, facilitated therapeutic educational groups, and mentored newcomers in the staff. My Brother and Mother continued going to university doing Thiogogy. But that soon ended when Out Mother Monica passed away. I took a month off from work to organise the funeral and help My brother in readjusting our life without our parents. I was about 34 years old at the time and my brother was 2 years younger.
Soon after my mother passed I started a business with a friend selling secondhand stuff, just like the stuff you see on this web page. It was a successful business and I was considering quitting my day job and making the secondhand business my full-time job. I could see that our profits were heading south fast and we chose to close the shop down. Then the sweetheart that I was in love with in my twenties came back to Orange and we hit it off as if no time passed. The first time we met for so many years we just sat up till the sun came up talking about where we were, what we had been doing and what our dreams were. We chose to start up the secondhand business. We expanded into furniture and again we were making good profits. I was thinking about quitting my job at the D&A Rehab again. I was glad that I did not quit. because FaceBook introduced a marketplace feature. This killed our business within a year. Within that time I started to look at different web applications to set up an online shop. I finally settled with woocommerce as you see now. Now this hobby business is a labour of love.
My sweetheart soon became my wife, and together we are making our dreams a reality. Those things that we talked about are now the life we are living. We sold the property that was owned by my parents. My brother got a third, I got a third and the bank took their part from the debit that we inherited. My wife and I chose to put it straight into land and now we are living on 5 acres of farmland where we have about 12 sheep and 2 horses that are on ajistment that a friend owns, chooks and our dogs. Our daughter still lives with us, and on many weekends we babysit our grandchildren. When I save up some money to do major work on the land I landscape and plant trees on the land. I have about equal amounts of native trees and food-bearing trees. I am also building garden beds where I grow our vegetables.
There is so much more to talk about. But I think this is enough. I still have a passion to work with people and to be of service. with my 17 years working in the D&A field and now my time working with people who are on the NDIS. I feel that my knowledge wisdom and skills can still be used for more. This is why I have the Blog. I meditate on issues or topics and write down my thoughts. So please just remember that they are just that. My thoughts that come from my perspective of what I have done, witnessed, or educated myself on. So do take what you read with a grain of salt, and not to be fact.