The Bega Pioneers' Museum has countless reports and stories on local issues. Here is the story of Harold Wiles' life. Harold has been working as a labourer on the Monaro but decided to come back to the Valley.
MY NEXT move was back to Candelo, a part-time job driving the local doctor by horse and buggy. In the spare time I had I trapped rabbits and foxes. Rabbit skins were worth sixpence per lb and a good fox skin ten shillings. With the one pound the doctor paid me I knocked up another 30 shillings trapping.
It was not so bad, only for the fact sometimes I had to get out of bed in the middle of the night and drive the doctor 30 or 40 miles to a patient who had been ill for a week or more.
A firm of auctioneers held regular sales at Candelo. Their names were, Brown, Sharp and Blacker. I very often attended these sales and booked up the cattle, and I worked it out for selling 1,000 pounds worth of stock they got 50 pounds commission.
At night I would think over this huge amount just for a couple of hours magging. Fifty quid, I would say to myself. This is the job. I could plainly see I would never get very far working for wages.
I got married, and was lucky to get a good wife. I had my furniture bought and paid for and lived in a rented cottage for five shillings per week. My wife impressed on me when we were courting that two could live as cheaply as one. I believed her.
One day I went to the police station to take out an auctioneer's licence. The old sergeant said to me, "What the hell are you going to do with a licence?" I got a form and it had to be signed by three people who knew me.
I attended the court and the old magistrate dropped his glasses half way down his nose. How well I remember. It was that sharp at the point, I thought to myself, it would split any hail stone that happened to fall on it.
His remarks were, "Aren't there enough auctioneers here?" I said, "They are getting old, your worship, and there's always got to be someone to follow on." He gazed at me again, and I looked him straight in the eyes like a snake charmer. "Granted," says he, "two pounds please."
When the local paper came out there were big headlines. H Wiles has been granted an auctioneer's licence. I was ridiculed and scoffed at by quite a number of local people who knew I had no capital.