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Pioneers of local property

TRUSTED: Graham Patch, and Bruce Supple celebrate 50 years of Patch and Taylor real estate in Lismore.
TRUSTED: Graham Patch, and Bruce Supple celebrate 50 years of Patch and Taylor real estate in Lismore. Doug Eaton

WHEN Graham Patch started his real estate business in a two room office on Woodlark St in 1964, you could buy land in New Brighton for $400 and pay it off for $2 a week.

Patch and Taylor celebrated its 50th anniversary on Friday, and remains proudly independent after half a century.

A house in Lismore in the 1960s went for $8000 or $5000 if it was in a flood zone.

In Ballina it was cheaper - about $6600 for an average place.

And there was nothing off the menu for the agency's hard-working founding partners, Mr Patch and Ken Taylor.

"They sold anything back then, from a prawn trawler to a banana farm," said Bruce Supple, who bought the agency in 2005 and has worked there since 1998.

They even sold a milk run at one point.

In its lifetime, Patch and Taylor has never become a franchise, or changed its name, and only moved once from its original office - right next door.

"When we started in '64 it was a tough period." Graham Patch, who retired in 2004," recalled.

One of the interesting challenges in the 1960s was the transition from dollars to pounds and acres to hectares - nothing really changed, but the new metrics made property seem both more expensive, and smaller.

Despite some ups and downs, Mr Patch said he never considered becoming a franchise.

"I never wanted to take on a franchise," he said, recalling the day two young suited up men tried to convince him.

"I said before you start telling me all this stuff, how long have you been in the industry. One guy said three years, the other said he was coming up on three years."

"I pointed to the door and said 'I've been keeping that front door open for 27 years, so I think the best thing you can do is pack up your stuff and go out that door, and let me get back to work'.

"I wanted to do it the way I wanted to do it."




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