THE past week has been a strange time for long-time Elders Mount Gambier livestock manager David Creek.
After over five decades of dedication and commitment to the agriculture industry, Mr Creek decided to call stumps on his career.
Loyalty has been the key behind the stock agent’s success, having spent 43 of his 53 years in the workforce wearing a red Elders uniform.
Despite the well-deserved chance to finally put his feet up, Mr Creek said it had been hard adjusting to retired life, but admits he needed the change.
“It has been quite surreal because the agency game has been my life,” he said.
“You get up in the morning, walk around and wonder what will happen next.
“While I did finish up last Friday, I did a little draft job on Tuesday.
“But I will be 70 in February, so I sort of had enough of it.”
With his parents being dairy farmers, Mr Creek was destined to work in the farming industry and his journey began working on a family-owned property in Waterloo at the age of 17.
Elders signed him up just over a year later in 1967 and he was stationed at Lucindale, earning $26.80 a week.
The job took Mr Creek all over the Limestone Coast and he can still recall his first sale in an Elders shirt.
It took place at Coonalpyn, which holds a special place in Mr Creek’s heart because it is also where he met Lyn – his wife of 48 years.
From the initial sale, the growing stock agent built his client list and for one particular six-month period he found himself in the middle of Queensland doing horse work at Corinda Station.
After the adventure across the continent, Mr Creek was forced to make another significant move, which proved to be the end of his first stint with Elders.
“One day Elders came along and said ‘we want you to go to Lameroo for the experience’ and I did not want to go, but Lyn and I went and we were not happy,” he said.
“We spent 18 months there before an opportunity came up to work with Top Fertilisers back here (Mount Gambier) and I took it.
“So we shifted back and had an enjoyable 10 years.”
After a decade making fertiliser, Mr Creek returned to the Elders fold and despite being headhunted by other companies over the ensuing years, he turned them all down to remain in the red shirt.
In the 28 years since he has been forced to adapt to some significant changes, such as livestock calculation and communication methods as technology evolved.
He was also present when the Mount Gambier saleyards switched from the wooden yards at White Avenue to today’s larger location at Glenburnie, while the bulk of cattle sold has progressed from being predominately Hereford to Angus.
Mr Creek has always found a way to overcome any challenge, but his success came at a cost.
“There was many a family function I did not get to because I was drafting stock,” he said.
“It became 50 to 60 hours per week, but my family has always been very, very supportive of me.”
Eventually the task of juggling well over 100 clients at once tipped the scales in Mr Creek’s work-life balance, leading to his decision to slow down.
But he walks into retirement with confidence knowing he has left the company in safe hands.
“The big thing was I had two young men – Ben Gregory and Aiden Auld – coming along over the last four years,” Mr Creek said.
“They are able replacements who want to be here, work very hard and are prepared to step up for the company.”