'Big fella' retires

"Big Fella" Andy McGeoch, retires

A 2004 photos of Andy McGeoch co-selling with Joe Bargwanna, Young, and David Corcoran (Now Delta Ag Young) pencils

A 2004 photos of Andy McGeoch co-selling with Joe Bargwanna, Young, and David Corcoran (Now Delta Ag Young) pencils


Close to half-a-century in the livestock agency game, 43 years with the one firm (Elders), Andy McGeoch hangs up his gavel.


NO ONE cares how much you know until they know how much you care", a truism of life and business according to Andy McGeoch, who retired on May 1 after 43 years with Elders and 47 years in livestock and stud stock industries.

Known to many in stud stock circles as "the big fella", Andy McGeoch said enthusiasm was the elixir of life.

"Employ it and no matter what the result, people will appreciate you have done your best," he said.

In typical selling mode at a ram auction, Andy McGeoch gave his best for every client.

In typical selling mode at a ram auction, Andy McGeoch gave his best for every client.

With a near half-century of serving the livestock industry as agent and auctioneer the experience gained by Andy was fundamental to his successes in the sale podium and rostrum, or along the boards stradling ram pens.

Andy is the third generation of livestock agents/auctioneers of the McGeoch line.

His father, Alf, and his father before him were "company men all their lives".

"They both retired satisfied men, like myself," Andy said.

During his career many a stud or breed record was broken, but two memorable Australian records included the $41,000 Dorper ram, Red Rock A46.at Dubbo in 2004 and the $110,000 Angus bull, KO Godfather in 2012.

He started his career with John McDonald Stockmasters in 1973 checking every written entry in sale catalogues with the Coates Herd Book before they went to print.

Back in those days agents put catalogues together for stud clients, before computerisation.

Between school and McDonald Stockmasters Andy spent some years in New Zealand learning about stud stock, particularly Angus cattle Romney Marsh and Southdown sheep.

In those early years with Stockmasters and a small staff, Andy was despatched to the client's stud property to wash every animal pre-sale "to embellish our sense of service". Those were not the days, he said.

He said he never lost his passion for observing top livestock.

"I still get a thrill when I see what I consider to be a top animal," he said.

"Observation is the greatest attribute a stockman will ever possess.

"Relying on measurement to get you to the top, I believe, is not sustainable. Measurement that can be measured will however, plot your past, present and future.

"Be as it may, always respect the individuality of animals. Why should they be any different to the human race."

He reflected on the "greatest changes" in his 43 years of stud stock being communication, computerisation and measurement.

"The players don't change a great deal. Perhaps they are better informed, but not necessarily more gifted breeders."

Elders' northern zone livestock manager, Paul Holm, in a letter to staff announcing Andy's retirement said Andy rose quickly through the ranks to branch manager roles at Cootamundra and Walcha, then senior livestock manager positions in both Queensland and NSW before finding his niche in stud stock including a lengthy portion of his life as the NSW stud stock manager.

"An accomplished auctioneer well known for his passionate, heartfelt and positive opening remarks at sale time regardless of vendor, breed or species, or the buying audience," Paul Holm said.

"His quick wit and fondness of a timely cheeky comment whilst selling commonly drew a range of reactions from laughter, the shake of a head or two, or the odd steely glare from those who didn't appreciate the attention."

Colleague Paul Jameson, now stud stock, Dubbo, stood by Andy's side in the selling rostrum at many a sale out west and two occasions of record-breaking moments were shared.

One which was memorable to Paul was the Dorper Australian record sale at Dubbo showground in 2006.

I"d only just moved down from Walcha a year before and was on the rostrum spotting for bids," he said.

"Back then Dubbo hosted the national show and sale. Andy, as he could, gave a terrific preamble on Red Rock A46, offered by Tanya and Brad Edson, Keith, South Australia, with all the guff that he's renowned for.

"And his opening line calling for a bid was "do I see $10,000 for this burgeoning ram?"

A bloke sitting in the front row, looking a bit like Greg Norman with a head of white-silvery hair, put up two fingers.

"With that, Andy said "I thank you sir, I bid $2000, and the bloke yelled out, "No, $20,000".

Andy's reply was "where have you been all my life, sir?"

The ram sold to Steve Cresswell, Annalara stud, Dubbo.

In 2012 at Theo Onisforou's KO Angus stud on-property sale at Kangaloon, the 18-month old KO Godfather G31 sold for the Australian record of $110,000 to Gilmandyke stud, Kangaroobie, Orange.

Reflecting on their association, Paul Jameson said he would always leave a sale with a smile, where Andy was auctioneer.

"He had an excellent grasp of the English language and there was never a sale where you'd leave and say, well, that was a bit dull."

Andy's friends are welcome to contact by phoning 0418 737 470.


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