In this very special series of exclusive articles for the Property Chronicle, Australian property legend Norman Harker reflects on his extraordinary 50-year life in real estate. He will pull no punches partly because, as he freely admits, Norman has a limited life expectancy of five years from December 2018 due to a diagnosed terminal blood cancer, which he has cheerfully accepted in preference to (in his words) “kicking the bucket without notice”. We are honoured he has chosen us to publish these brilliant, funny and incisive reflections of a lifetime in property.
Chapter 16 left you bored over why I became a lecherer in valuation in the Department of Land Economy, University of Aberdeen, Scotland – founded 1494 – floundered, 1985. In 1494 The Mayflower was possibly still growing and Australia wasn’t even on the maps.
1494: Aberdeen, The Mayflower still growing, Australia not on maps
My own family possibly came from the village of Harker, northeast of Carlisle on the border between England and Scotland. One ancestor, a tad bored with raping, looting and pillaging and being raped, looted and pillaged in return, went south and founded the great Harker dynasty.
‘Canny’ is often interpreted as ‘mean’ in English but Canny really means ‘wise investors’
It was a move to an ancestral battleground. However, I soon found the Scots to be warmhearted, friendly and embarrassingly generous. ‘Canny’ is often interpreted as ‘mean’ in English, but canny really means ‘wise investors’. It has nothing to do with their spirit of generosity. Scots Pension Funds have long been among the best performing.
Their antagonism towards the English is only evidenced if the English adopt a belief of superiority over the Scots. Being English by birth, I don’t believe that superiority – I know the English are superior. (Norman now ducks for cover under his Shetland wool blanket.)