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Ray White Traralgon History

In 2008, Ray White Traralgon has celebrated its 21st anniversary and its 70th anniversary since its inception as a family real estate business.

The office was originally opened for business in 1938 by John McMahon, a well respected businessman, stock and station agent, real estate and travel agent. He was supported by his very loyal secretary, Ria Bell, who later retired at 70 years of age.

The interior of the office was a stark contrast to today’s computerised real estate offices with a myriad of thick ledgers and various volumes of books and travel agents brochures.

In the mid 1970′s John McMahon’s two sons, Max and Bill, took over the agency and continued with a clientelle that included rental clients, farmers and other real estate clients. Believe it or not, the office still had two landlords dating back to 1938!

In the 1980s the trading name added the franchise name of ERA, which later became Ray White Traralgon in 1987, with Bill and Isabelle McMahon at the helm.

With a wealth of experience, Ray White Traralgon celebrates its history but also looks to the future with many new innovative ways to sell real estate.


It was traditionally a Thursday, when the farmers and their ladies went to market.  Not only to sell their fattened pigs for the best price, but to also communicate and mix with the townspeople.  It was a weekly event in Traralgon which the farmers’ wives looked forward to – to shop and have lunch or afternoon tea while the farmers themselves settled in their positions in anticipation of a good price for their stock.

The auctions were held at the stockyards where the current town hall and council offices are situated.  Additional stockyards were on the hill in Breed Street on the corner of Breed Street and Seymour Street.  The Breed Street Medical Clinic occupies some of the space now.

Farmers often used to drive cattle through the side streets.  The bridge over the creek in Franklin Street was known as the Stock Bridge.  Cattle were often driven down Franklin Street to Moore Street, then Breed Street, and then onto the stockyards often creating havoc with peoples’ gardens along the way.

Each Stock firm/real estate had their own auctioneer who was charismatic and colourful with jokes and banter throughout the sale process.

Stock firms in those days sold rural and town properties.  John McMahon, who established the business known as John McMahon and Co in 1938 (now known as Ray White Traralgon) did a lot of buying and selling in the paddocks.  The buyers or agent used to go to the farms to buy stock by negotiation.  Some preferred this to the auction system because the cattle or sheep were not “knocked about” – and in addition if the cattle or stock were not sold at the saleyards , they had be returned to the property at a cost.

Methods of sale are virtually unchanged  to this day – selling by auction or by negotiation or private treaty.

Also after a successful sale, some of the farmers would congregate at the local pub (or “water hole” as it was known) to mix with the locals before heading home again with their wives!