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Ray White celebrates 120-year history

By Rachel Wallace

It was blue skies and spring weather today at Crows Nest, the birthplace of Australasia’s leading real estate group, Ray White.

Almost 300 Ray White members and their families attended Ray White’s The Shed Open Day today to celebrate the 120th year anniversary of the Ray White Group where the leading agency first started.

Ray White began his business in a disused shed on the Crows Nest railway siding in 1902. This year the group, which is now Australasia’s largest real estate agency, is celebrating its 120th birthday and honouring the small-town beginnings that made Ray White what it is today.

In 1902, The Shed had no direct road access. It had no retail visibility. But Ray White opened the doors, determined to engage in any business where he could bring value to the community. He was prepared to do anything. Sell farm machinery, arrange insurance or be a produce agent. Anything. Eventually he began to sell new motor cars, farm equipment and of course, property.

And Ray White was born.

Today, The Shed is part of the Crows Nest Museum and Historical Village and has been restored to its former glory. Visitors can take a walk through the historic town and visit the birthplace of the Ray White Group.

With a nod to the past, the leading group has all eyes firmly focused on the future. This humble tin shed will remain a highly valued piece of real estate for the White family for many years to come. It’s a reminder of one man’s ambition and determination and how we can all go further together.

Third generation chairman Brian White (pictured above) was humbled to see so many people attend and pay homage to the agency’s beginnings.

“I have a sacred duty to fulfil, under the instruction from the man whose name is at the top of the shed there. I’ve been instructed by him to announce to all of you here that you are members of his family,” he said.

Managing director Dan White opened the day and thanked everyone for being there to celebrate with his family.

“As we grow and as the group changes, this gets more special rather than less,” he said.

“How lucky are we to have this hub here, reminding ourselves of where we’ve come from.

“Our humble beginnings were just a tin shed on the edge of civilization and it shows what can be achieved with very little.

“What can be achieved with ambition, hard work, sacrifice and certainly community – all the different things Ray did to keep his business moving forward.”

“It is that sense of custodianship that I feel being here. The Shed does connect me with the history and that sense of custodianship and our responsibility to keep taking this group forward.”

Renowned Australian poet Rupert McCall (pictured above) read out a tribute entitled “The Shed That Dreamed” in honour of the shed that started it all.

“I genuinely enjoyed writing this poem and I think that’s for a few reasons,” Mr McCall said.

“But I think most of all the secrets and the spirit that exists inside this shed laid the foundation for one of the great Australian stories.

“I think that this country should be really proud of the story that is embraced not just in Australia but around the real estate world.

“So, I stand here with absolute pride with the opportunity to enhance the legend.”

Beginning with Ray White himself, auctions are in the DNA of the group. Ray White Cheltenham agent and auctioneer Angela Limanis (pictured below) showcased what makes the group so unique with a charity auction with all proceeds going to the Crows Nest Museum and Historical Village. Prior to the bidding, she announced three rules for the day.

“To the bidders, please yell out your bid! The louder the better, let’s create some energy, let’s have some fun,” Ms Limanis said.

“This is directed to the partners of those bidding, be they spouses, business partners, friends. Do not interrupt or prevent your partner from bidding. It is not allowed. You are here to encourage, not distract and you should encourage them to keep bidding.

 “And please remember that today we have not come here looking for a bargain. We are all here to come together as one and help the White family celebrate this momentous occasion and to raise funds for the volunteers here.”

Up for auction were eight lots including a morning tea with Brian White, a $500 voucher for any Ray White event, a hamper of local gin from Pechey Distillery and soft drinks from Crows Nest Soft Drinks, a signed copy of Rupert McCall’s “The Shed That Dreamed” and then four jerseys signed by the ACT Brumbies men’s and women’s teams. All up, the auction raised more than $40,000 for the Museum and Historical Village.

Ray White Commercial Christchurch agent Paula Raine (pictured below) came to The Shed to see her name written in the Elite Performers book.

“We were here 20 years ago and came with our business partner who passed away in 2007. It just reiterates how close the White family are and how much history they hold,” Ms Raine said.

“It was really amazing to see my name in the Elite Performers book in the shed where it all started.”

Ray White Rural Dayboro | Eumundi principal Vicki Pain said this was her first time visiting The Shed.

“I have been with the company 17 years and it is my first time here. I am so proud that I can have my team with me to experience this together,” Ms Pain said.

“I took a photo of Paul White’s quote in The Shed about the family because that is exactly what we are – a family.

“Even though we might not be blood, we are all part of the Ray White family.”

Ray White Commercial Canberra’s Frank Giorgi said he’s thrilled to be part of the group.

“This is my first year since we rebranded to Ray White and I am so happy to be part of the group,” Mr Giorgi said.

“Being here at the birthplace of the Ray White Group – it’s great to be part of something so historic.”

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