Friday, October 4, 2013

Sepia Saturday: A clearing sale

This week for Sepia Saturday we're asked to highlight a photo that is 'blurred, scratched, undefined, and plain boring'. Easy peasy, I thought. But then I had trouble deciding on which of the many blurred and scratched photos to choose. Not one of them is boring to me because each captures a little slice of time in the life of my family.

I've chosen just one. After the war my parents, Angus and Mavis Wyllie, married and lived on a wheat farm at Laen, east of Minyip in Victoria's Wimmera district. I was three when they decided to sell the farm and move south to greener pastures at Homerton north of Portland on the coast. Dad wasn't a wheat farmer any more, he was a dairy farmer, and he didn't need the wheat farming equipment any more. So he held a clearing sale in February 1952. For several weeks prior to the sale there were advertisements in the paper.

Horsham Times, 25 January 1952 [Sourced at Trove]
Clearing sales are usually held on the property and items for sale are laid out in rows on the ground as shown in the photo. The sales are usually well-attended by neighbouring farmers looking for a bargain. The photo is faint and blurred but I like that it records that event and that it shows how flat and dry the Wimmera is. The farm at Homerton was undulating, lush, with a creek running the length of it and incorporated acres of natural bush as well as pasture. Thirty years later mum and dad held another clearing sale when they sold the farm at Homerton and retired.

Wyllie's clearing sale, Laen, February 1952
You can see more blurry photos over at Sepia Saturday.


  1. thinks that photo does speak much.....

  2. That's an interesting bit of history even though the clearing sale isn't very clear.

  3. Such inhospitable looking ground.

  4. I agree that the picture is a wonderful document of an event that some of us have no experience with. That it reminds you of the stark contrast between the two farms your family owned makes the picture even more worthy.

  5. It's pretty bleak, isn't it? I'm glad they went on to dairy farming -- now THAT'S something I can talk about!

  6. What a great bit of family history to have both the sale notice and the photograph. Seeing the photo makes me wish I could walk the rows and look at the items for sale -- not that I would recognize what they are or their uses, of course. The land in the photo looks as flat as the ocean, going on forever until disappearing at the curve of the earth.

  7. I find it a little sad to see these things laid out like that,
    the end of an era but I understand the family was moving on.
    Where it lacks a refined artistic flair,
    it well compensates as a document of a time in your life,
    and of a period that was reality to many.
    Well done!!
    Smart pick for this theme.

  8. I work in Real Estate, the phrase, "AS IS WHERE IS" comes to mind....

  9. The photo shows the expanse of the country wonderfully. Without your explanation the rows of equipment would have been puzzling.

  10. It's not really a bad photo, and has a wealth of meaning, just not very well preserved from the look of it. By the way, I missed you last Wednesday, as I had to 'hold the fort' in the afternoon, but not too busy so managed ok :-)

  11. Yes, I agree that it is a great photo to have. It is hard to believe that so many farmers do well in the Wimmera as there are so many photos of sandy, bare and dry earth.

  12. The newspaper item and the photos go so well to show that moment in time. It's not really a bad photo either.

  13. Your story puts a simple photo into context and adds a valuable meaning. We all have similar photos of former homes, but those of our farming ancestors are very poignant because they relate to the earth. Recently I watched a terrific independent film on Netflix from 2007 called Sweet Land. It's a love story about a Norwegian/German couple who build a farm in Minnesota after WW1. Your photo depicts one of the important events in the film.


I love to read your comments. Thankyou for your interest.



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