PEOPLE



Some Notable People of Warrimoo


1. William Dawes 1762-1836


 
The first (documented) white person to set foot in the vicinity of Warrimoo was Marine Lieutenant William Dawes, who had been sent to New South Wales to assist the military keep order in 1788. He was a cultured man, who took an avid interest in astronomy (the telescope at Dawes Point) and in the local Indigenous people and their languages. So much so, that when Pemulwuy killed Governor Phillip’s gamekeeper and the Governor ordered him to go on a punitive expedition against the natives, Dawes refused to go. He argued that the gamekeeper, John MacIntyre, had caused provocation to Aboriginal people around the harbour, and may have deserved his fate. In the event, Dawes was prevailed upon to go on the expedition, which proved utterly fruitless. Nevertheless, the bad blood this whole incident brought between Dawes and the Governor ultimately led to his leaving the colony in December, 1791.
 
 
William Dawes--the first recorded European to have passed through 'Warrimoo', did so in 1789, in a direct 'line of march' from Mt. Riverview to Mt. Hay (then called 'Round Hill'--visible from Warrimoo).

However, two years earlier this same William Dawes, along with Watkin Tench, had discovered the Nepean River and with a small party and minimal provisions, Dawes determined to explore further westward. In December 1789, he commenced his journey:

 
To the ‘line of march’. The first day he headed due west from Emu Ford to the crest of the first ridge, in the vicinity of Mt. Riverview, and from here had a direct view of ‘Round Hill’ (Mt. Hay).
Dawes moved his ‘line of march’ to a straight traverse and made a bee line for Round Hill crossing the now line of highway just near the Sydney side of Warrimoo. [1]

In other words, Dawes scaled the escarpment at present day Mt. Riverview and took a direct westerly march, keeping a mark on Mt. Hay directly ahead. This route misses the areas of Glenbrook and Blaxland entirely, but if such a forthright strategy was to continue, it was clear Dawes’ path would be an extraordinarily difficult one, obliging him and his party to climb and descend continuously.

Early Warrimoo historian, Maisie Lupton[2] continues the story...
 
...he would have passed by the foot of the ridge which is now Florabella Street on his unsuccessful trip to find a route across the Camarthen Mountains, as the Blue Mountains were then known. It is believed that his ‘line of march’ would have taken him along a course similar to that of the high tension electricity line which crosses the Highway, near the (now defunct) Westward Ho Cafe, and continues across the gullies and ridges in a westerly direction...
 
 
William Dawes--same portrait, different perspective. Dawes has become widely known through his makeshift observatory at Millers Point (now 'Observatory Hill), as well as his interest in the local Indigenous people of Sydney. He became a campaigner for social justice and the abolition of slavery.

Dawes and his small party marched on, and most of the conjecture (Dawes did not keep a detailed diary--merely some trigonometric readings and his distance covered) has him stopping somewhere between Linden and Lawson because provisions began to run low and exhaustion had set in. More recent examination of his readings, however, concede that his party had, in fact, covered the necessary distance to Mt. Hay before turning back.

The number of subsequent attempts to cross the Blue Mountains is now legion: Paterson, Bass, Everingham, Wilson, Barallier and Caley to name the most prominent. The most famous were Blaxland Wentworth and Lawson, to whom the township of Warrimoo has held a variety of dedications throughout its history.
 
A celebration commemorating the later (1813) crossing of the Blue Mountains by Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson. The reception in Warrimoo was organised by the Warrimoo Citizens Association in May 2013, and it welcomed descendants of the three explorers at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Terrymont Road.
 After leaving Sydney in 1791, Dawes took up a position as a colonial administrator in the West Indies, where he became notable as a campaigner for social justice and the abolition of slavery.
 


[1] PAISH, Lindsay, Heritage, Newsletter of the Blue Mountains Association of Cultural Heritage, issue #10, July-August 2010, p1
[2] LUPTON, Maisie et al, Warrimoo Public School, The First Twenty-Five Years, magazine published by Warrimoo Public School Anniversary Committee, 1987, p.11
 
 

2) Sir Arthur Rickard


Arthur Rickard in the 1920's--at the height of his powers

(Sir) Arthur Rickard—Biography[1]

Arthur Rickard (1868-1948), real estate developer, was born on 17 November 1868 at Currawang near Lake George, New South Wales, son of Cornish parents William Heath Rickard, miner, and his wife Mary, née Bennett. At 13 he left Bathurst Public School and found employment with E. Webb & Co., hardware merchants.


Moving to Sydney aged 17, he worked for Tillock & Co., wholesale grocers, as a commercial traveller. On 28 February 1889, at the age of 21, he married Annie Eliza Addy, at Waverley. The marriage was not a happy one. Possibly Arthur considered Annie inferior to his ambitions. She may have been a ‘loose woman’ or a drinker, for despite giving birth to two children in the marriage, she lost them. Rickard divorced Annie in December 1901 and gained custody of their son and daughter. On 19 March 1902 he married Nellie Crudge, daughter of architect
Thomas Rowe, at St Mark's, Darling Point.


By 1893 Rickard had set up as a mercantile broker and agent for Chaleyer Fisher & Co. Ltd, East India merchants of Melbourne. He himself began importing and about 1899 entered the wholesale grocery business with S. A. Joseph. They secured some government contracts but had trouble with imported foodstuffs infested with weevils.


 In 1904
Governor Sir Harry Rawson objected to Rickard's proposed appointment as Portuguese consul because Joseph & Rickard had been found supplying goods 'unfit for human consumption' to asylums. Late in the year, in financial difficulties, they broke up the partnership.



Governor Sir Harry Holdsworth Rawson (1843-1910). He was Governor of NSW from 1902 to 1909--'Straight forward to the verge of bluntness', he refused to appoint the ambitious Arthur Rickard Portuguese Consul on the grounds of his suspect dealings.
A natural salesman, Rickard sought a business requiring less capital than the grocery trade. In January 1904 he registered Arthur Rickard & Co. Ltd, a real estate firm, and developed inventive advertising strategies in contrast to most current property advertising. His strikingly illustrated advertisements urged families to buy rather than rent, availing themselves of 'Rickard's Easy Terms'.

In 1905 he subdivided 152 acres (62 ha) at Woy Woy into waterfront residential sites, poultry farms and orchard blocks. A superb self-publicist, in 1909 he launched Rickard's Realty Review, a quarterly (sometimes monthly) magazine which continued to appear until 1927. 'Rickard's Solar System' described a map of Sydney with a series of radiating arcs and dots pinpointing the extent of his land offerings. On his return from Europe in 1912 the Sun named him as 'Sydney's subdivisional specialist'.


By 1916 the 'Solar System' extended to Wyong, the Blue Mountains and Port Hacking. He even persuaded the railway commissioners to build stations at Warrimoo (1918) and Bullaburra (1925) to service his estates. In July 1918 the Review declared that members of the firm were 'fowlanthropists'—specialists in poultry farmlets. Rickard House at 84 Pitt Street opened about 1920.
Arthur Rickard's offices in Pitt Street, photographed in the 1920's. Rickard became one of the biggest developers in Sydney during this period, although the Great Depression dragged him back, somewhat.

Rickard was a foundation president (1912-48) of the Millions Club, established in the belief that accelerated British migration would make Sydney the first Australian city to reach a population of one million. He used the club (whose membership included many leading politicians and businessmen) as a platform for pronouncements on immigration, socialism (he was vehemently against it) and the economy. He published a pamphlet entitled Population: the Cash Value (1915) in which he argued that the State's population should be increased to nine million. He actively supported the war bond campaigns and was appointed K.B.E. in 1920.





Inside the Millions Club, 1924--as a foundation member, Rickard presided over this club, while he was also pre-eminent in the Japan-Australia Society. You will note a Japanese naval officer in the foreground of this photograph. (Photo courtesy of http://sirarthurrickardblogspot)

 

On returning from overseas next year Rickard stressed his preference for the White Australia policy and approved of the way the United States of America had 'wiped out' saloons, horse racing and gambling. In 1926 he was a member of the Australian delegation to the League of Nations General Assembly.

Rickard attacked the failure of State governments to populate Australia and called on the Commonwealth to take over migration. He was active on the executives of organizations which aimed to foster migrants, including the State branches of the New Settlers' League of Australia, the Big Brother Movement, Dr Barnardo's Homes and the British Empire League.


French Aerial Daredevil Maurice Guillot (Guillaux): without Rickard's sponsorship, he would not have made the first airmail flight from Melbourne to Sydney in 1914. The flight took nine and a half hours. (Photo courtesy of http://sirarthurrickardblogspot)


In the 1920s Rickard's business interests included many directorships and part-ownership of the Hotel Sydney, Usher's Metropolitan Hotel and The Windsor, Melbourne. He was a director of Sydney Hospital (1917-27), a council-member of the Sydney Regional Plan Convention (1923-24), a fellow of the Royal Colonial Institute (1912), and of the Royal Geographical Society of London (1924), vice-president of the Defence of Australia League and president of the Japan-Australia Society—although he considered the Japanese unsuitable immigrants, he admired their ambition and social welfare system.



Rickard (at Left) photographed at Martin Place with Eric Campbell, one of the more notorious right-wing figures of NSW politics in the 1930's



A member of the Sane Democracy League, he worked for several taxpayers' associations advocating public economy and in 1935 attacked taxes on mortgages. Rather square-faced, with a dark, clipped moustache, he enjoyed golf and motoring and belonged to the Imperial Service Club. In 1928 he donated an elaborate floral clock to Taronga Zoological Park.


 

The Floral Clock at Taronga Park Zoo, which became an icon as memorable as the Elephant Rides at the Zoo. Rickard's profile remained large in the 1920's due to such notable generosity--he was a master of self promotion


One of Rickard's advertisements in 1922 had proclaimed 'we are in business for all time'. He did not, however, foresee the Depression nor how difficult it would be to sell his landholdings on the urban fringe. Many of the blocks sold on 'Rickard's Easy Terms' were returned to the company which had to pay rates on land which had no immediate sales potential. Arthur Rickard & Co. Ltd went into voluntary liquidation in 1930 with Rickard as liquidator.

In the same year, the family's heavily mortgaged mansion—Berith Park at Wahroonga—was sold and they moved to a more modest home at Killara.

Dowell O'Reilly wrote in 1913 that the country around Bankstown had been cut up into lots 'suitable for anything from poultry-farming to the residence of the Governor General'.

In a city preoccupied with real estate Rickard was the outstanding land developer of his era, his extroverted personality showed through most of his advertisements. He died in the Scottish Hospital, Paddington, on 13 April 1948 and was cremated. His wife, their two sons and two daughters, and the children of his first marriage survived him. His eldest son Lieutenant-Colonel A. L. Rickard, M.C., D.S.O., served in both world wars and his youngest son Douglas was chairman of the Australian Postal Commission in the 1970s. Sir Arthur left a modest estate valued for probate at £12,623. His portrait by
John Longstaff is held by the successor to the Millions Club, the Sydney Club.”

 
Arthur Rickard’s Contribution to Warrimoo

 


Arthur Rickard invites us to ride in his canoe. The 'Warrimoo Estate' was launched in 1918, the last year of World War I...
 
It is not difficult to assess Arthur Rickard’s contribution: without Arthur Rickard, there would certainly have not been a ‘Warrimoo’, for even the name was contrived by him. How he managed to change the area’s public assignation from ‘Karabar’ to ‘Warrimoo’, and why, is the subject of another entry in this blog.[2]
 
 
Even before World War I, Rickard had started buying land in the mountains. He had already set up his Real Estate business in 1904, and was primarily interested in land acquisition on the fringes of Sydney for future development. While busily campaigning for greater immigration and thus more home-buyers, he was surveying land purchases at Woy Woy on the Central Coast, Narrabeen, Bankstown and the Sutherland shire for future release.


Warrimoo--the 'Box Seat'--accessible to the city of Sydney but not as 'rugged' as upper Mountains locations. This newspaper ad. announced the first estate release

The Subdivisions
 
 
The Karabar properties were bought in 1918, but Rickard went further than the Richardson and Wrench offering—he bought blocks on the northern side of the railway/highway as well. When releasing his estates, Rickard generally did much more than the average developer. He always had a ‘vision’ for his subdivisions that generally revolved around a combination of residency and primary industry: it seems he was keen to support some level of ‘self sufficiency’ or ‘sustainability’ not available in standard urban blocks at the time. For Warrimoo, it appeared to be poultry and orchards he sought to encourage.



An excerpt from the first Warrimoo Estate subdivision along Rickard Road and Railway Parade. You will note that all the Lots are roughly the same size and dimensions throughout.
 



Clearly anxious to 'move things along', Rickard altered the design of the Estate in 1922--now, every third or fourth Lot extended well beyond the 'normal' suburban block to enable some additional pursuit such as orchards or poultry farms. Some buyers attempted it, most did not.

When you examine the layout of the plan for the 1920 ‘Rickard Road’ development, you will notice that initially, the Lots were arranged in a standard suburban pattern of roughly equal ‘quarter acre’ size. These mustn’t have moved quickly enough for Rickard’s liking, so that a new, 1922 version of the Warrimoo Estate had every 3rd, 4th or 5th block in a much larger battleaxe, running back into bush at the rear of the properties—this is to allow the pursuit of some form of animal husbandry or small scale agriculture to supplement the resident’s diet or income.



A vision of Rickard's ideal: 'Fowlanthropy'. Settlement that engaged residents with their surrounding habitat and encouraged some form of rural pursuit
 
Blocks on Railway Parade, Cross Street and the Highway were arranged in similar manner, and remain so today.
 
 
On the southern side he redesigned the blocks so that the ones in The Avenue and The Boulevarde that had stood facing Victoria and Albert Streets, now faced continuously along the longer streets. The Boulevarde was “bent” a little instead of running straight, and the extensions to Victoria and Albert Streets were now cut off by blocks for sale. A special ‘display home’ was constructed on the corner of Victoria Street and The Boulevarde, most feasibly to profile the possibilities of building in the new township, and to encourage others to follow in the new, modern style.

 
A further road, ‘The Mall’ extended eastwards to a dead end, and ‘Florabella (meaning ‘beautiful flowers’) Street’ stretched southwards towards a Walking Track specifically cleared by Rickard to promote the ‘Mountains character’ of the development. It followed a small creek through to the back of Blaxland, which was itself developing apace at the time.



Plan of Warrimoo as it exists today--the extra large battle-axe blocks exist on both sides of the township
 
A Special Place in Rickard’s Heart?

 
The Railway Station

There is substantial evidence to indicate ‘Warrimoo’ held a special place in Arthur Rickard’s heart, despite the broadness of his holdings elsewhere. In Warrimoo he had arranged for the rebuilding of a rail platform and bridge. Already (in 1918) he had negotiated the renaming of ‘Karabar’ to ‘Warrimoo’, and moved the site of the platform 2-300 metres eastwards so that it stood opposite Rickard Road and the General Store, which was also constructed under his auspices.

 
Why the platform was moved is anyone’s guess. According to Lawrence Way[3] work did not really commence on the new platform till 1924, when he witnessed the blasting of a wider cutting further west to accommodate the dual track platform being built. Apparently Lawrence’s father worked on extensions to the platform to make it more adequate, “Horses were used pulling cartloads of earth to build up the station and widen the area for the rail to be on the other side of the platform as well.”[4] The wooden pedestrian bridge above the station existed from the outset, and linked both northern and southern sides of Warrimoo.

 
Constructions
 
 
The General Store

As previously mentioned, Arthur Rickard had a special purpose two-storey General Store built on the highway, opposite the station, to service the future community. The owners or lessees of the shop could live upstairs. There is evidence that a smaller corner shop already existed at Warrimoo [5], but the larger one came to dominate. This was certainly the centrepiece of a dramatic fire and subsequent court case shortly after its completion in 1919.[6]


The 'General Store' as it appears today. This building has been the centre of many dramas since its erection in 1920, and is surely worthy of consideration as the building most eminent for heritage-listing throughout the township.
 
3 The Boulevarde
 
Another extant building already noted is the special ‘show-home’ at number 3 The Boulevarde to encourage more of the same. It was built in ‘modern’, ‘monumental style’, with two massive pillars at the front and covered with ‘ash plaster’[7]. This bungalow was offered for sale by auction on the opening day of the subdivision's launch. It remains an impressive building today and has an intriguing history all its own[8].



The famous bungalow at number 3 The Boulevarde. Offered at auction on the 'sale day' of the Warrimoo Estate, it stood as a beautiful testament to the stylish architecture of the period. Sketch courtesy of Warrimoo artist, Terry Dernee.
 
The ‘Big Signs’

There appears to be little alternative other than to attribute a famous six foot ‘WARRIMOO’ sign, standing where the present Antiques shop is, to the promotional enthusiasm of Arthur Rickard himself. A legendary picture of four young women seated within the ‘W’, testifies to the sign being in place in 1930, welcoming motor tourists driving westward along the Highway. Another subsequent sign implored visitors to ‘Be kind to yourself and live in Warrimoo’[9]



The now legendary pic of four girls perched on the 'W' of the huge 'Warrimoo' sign once situated where the current 'Antiques' shop on the 'Highway now stands. Another contribution of one Arthur Rickard

 
Of course, it is possible that the Warrimoo Progress Association or the Blue Mountains Shire Council had a hand in these spectacular gestures, but neither of these august institutions was renowned for their wealth, nor a tendency to spend lavishly, and other townships do not appear to have had such imposing advertisements.  No, the Big ‘Warrimoo’ Signs bear the mark of the inimitable Rickard imagination, employed in his customarily expensive yet memorable way.

 
Presumably both signs were later destroyed by bushfire, one of which swept through the township in the mid 1930’s. There is no trace of them now.
 
Widows and Veterans’ Homes
 
Being a proud and very public patriot who had avidly supported Australian involvement in the war, Rickard was keen to make Warrimoo a showpiece of Australian gratitude to returned servicemen and war widows after the Great War. Rickard donated one block to the ‘Rejected Volunteers Association’ and sold five others to them at half price.
 
 
The ‘Rejected Volunteers Association’ consisted of men who, for medical or other reasons, had been unable to fight in World War I. Clearly these men had suffered the social stigma of not wearing a uniform during the Great War, and were now anxious to repair their standing after the slaughter of the previous four years.



Formed in the latter years of the war, the Association’s President was Sir Edward John Cox, an executive of the NSW branch of the British Red Cross, and its aims were to construct homes for war widows and veterans using volunteer labour. It was thought that the widow’s pension could be supplemented by taking paying guests and the cottages were designed by Mr. Bates, honorary architect, with this in mind.  They had seven rooms and two large sleeping-out verandahs and the land (c60 x 200ft) was planted with 40 fruit trees.  War widows with children and no other means of support were invited to apply and the same conditions as those in the Voluntary Workers Homes were applied.[10]



A rather poor newspaper photo of the hand-over of a 'Rejected Volunteers Home' at Warrimoo to war widow, Mrs. Simpson. Precisely where this building is or was is open to debate, but most likely on Florabella St., The Avenue, or The Boulevarde

The quality of these architect-designed weatherboard ‘homes’ is open to question. Certainly there was much fanfare with the opening of the first one, built on Rickard’s donated land:

 
The first cottage was handed over on 14 December 1918 to war widow Mrs. Simpson, with speeches about the sacrifices of many brave women and men.  A return thanks on behalf of Mrs Simpson was made by the Rev. Mr Kellett.  Other rejected men were urged to link up with the Association.[11]

 
There is little proof that war widows lined up in droves to take up the offer of being boarding house concierges and orchardists in the middle of pretty rugged lower Blue Mountains bushland. Lawrence Way writes of “six wooden homes…built for returned soldiers to move into the area”[12], probably located in The Avenue, The Boulevarde and Florabella Street. Lawrence’s father, Walter, rented one of these homes in Florabella Street while he built his own home in Albert Street.

 
Leisure Facilities

 
The Tennis Court
 
Arthur Rickard certainly had his finger on the popular pulse. The 8-Hour Day and the 44-Hour week were being entrenched. He knew of the common demand for more leisure time on weekends, and was fully aware that Saturday afternoon was rapidly becoming an opportunity for working people to pursue healthy sporting and social activities that had previously been reserved for middle class relaxation.

Tennis was one such pursuit. In city suburbs wealthy families were able to afford the construction of a clay or lawn tennis court in their back yards—something denied working class people who generally lived in tenements or flats. Now, Rickard was offering a clay tennis court, just outside the southern side of Warrimoo Station and across the Highway to the General Store. Now, if the community was prepared to maintain and manage it, tennis would be available to anyone who lived in the estate. Brilliant!

 
The Swimming Pool
 
Playing on the stereotypical mountain image of trickling waterfalls and natural pools, Rickard arranged for the concrete blockage of a creek running from Sun Valley around below Terrymont Road and Cross Street—about a kilometre from the station, if one took the direct track downhill, cleared by the Estate. The concrete used in creating the weir is still in existence today, though in dilapidated condition.[13]



Costume of the woman by the pool suggests early 1920's. Note the pathway to the water and the 'Changing Shed' in the background


Over time, the ‘Warrimoo Pool’ became one of the most popular swimming spots for visitors to the Lower Blue Mountains throughout the 1920’s and 30’s. It came to possess seating and change rooms, and a site for picnics, although maintenance of the pool was to become a serious bone of contention throughout its effective life. Its popularity declined after the Second World War when maintenance was neglected and Olympic pools were constructed at Springwood and then Glenbrook.
 

 Florabella Track

Bushwalking, too, had become a popular pursuit in the early decades of the 20th century. Rickard’s advertising ensured that Warrimoo was touted as a botanical treasure-trove, and Waratah Street was so named because at the time it was rich in abundance of the bright red native flower.



A page from Rickard's 'Realty Review', with Warrimoo being in pride of place compared to his other subdivisions. Overall prices for properties ranged from thirty pounds to several hundred pounds.
 
The name ‘Florabella’ suggested a wide preponderance of beautiful flowers and the Track, carved out at the behest of Rickard, was a convenient one, running down the end of Florabella Street, along a pretty watercourse to join Glenbrook Creek and Blaxland, and emerging at Ross Crescent.
 
Warrimoo schoolkids as well as tourists, used this route as a handy shortcut between the two townships, and to and from Blaxland PS prior to the construction of Warrimoo PS in the 1960’s.

 
The First Station Mistress

 
 The final piece of circumstantial evidence revealing Arthur Rickard’s relationship with Warrimoo relates to Catherine Ann Youson (1881-1972), the first Station Mistress of the newly built trainstop.[14]

 
Catherine Ann Batkin had married a tailor, Thomas Youson, in 1913 at Newtown, although Thomas was soon diagnosed with the killer disease, tuberculosis, and needed fresh clean air if he was to have any chance of survival, so the couple moved to Lot 14 Rickard Road where they built a basic fibro house  called ‘Lilac’ and settled.

 
It is difficult to assess the prime motivating factor for Ann and Thomas’ move to Warrimoo, for we do know that it was Arthur Rickard who told Ann about the proposed new station and the forthcoming need for a Station Master/Mistress there. Apparently Mr. Rickard was aware of Ann’s mathematical adroitness and felt she could handle the role admirably.[15] Had she been a Rickard employee when the couple had learned of Thomas’ diagnosis, or had they already moved to Warrimoo when Ann was ‘tipped off’ about the railways job?

 
In the event, Ann Youson got the position as Warrimoo’s first Station Mistress, and Thomas died of his disease in 1925. Ann’s income from the railways would have been a useful supplement to the scant entitlement of a Widow’s Pension and her work enabled her to become a singular character in the infant township for years to come.

 Ann’s niece, Leonie Campbell, remembers…

She was an extremely competent crochet worker and would even crochet her own dresses in her favourite lilac.  Ann was a great talker and one could hear her talking as she came up the path to the house!  In the 1950s there was a terrible bush fire which burnt the toilet and water tank stand, but the house was saved…

Ann was a tremendous walker, through the bush, down the roads etc.  Once she even became lost in the thick bush.  She had two cats at one stage – “Blackie”, who followed her around, would even make the long walk along Rickard Road over the railway line to the church in the park.  Blackie would curl up and have a sleep whilst the service was on, then follow her home again![16]
 
Ultimately---possibly soon after the 1953 fire---Catherine Ann Youson transferred to Muttama, near Gundagai, to continue her calling as Station Mistress. Warrimoo had lost an outstanding woman who had made her mark: she had become part of the fabric of the place and had seen it grow from a miniscule settlement to a developed community. Throughout, the township’s growth had been overseen by a woman proudly contributing in a Public Service dominated by men—not many (if any!) settlements can boast such a feat during the ‘male breadwinner’ era!
 
Conclusion
 
So, can we make any firm conclusion about Sir Arthur Rickard’s attitude towards Warrimoo? Without doubt he contributed a range of features to the township which made it unique and which largely framed its character from the outset. It is also true that Rickard possessed an impressive ‘family holiday house’ in Lawson called ‘Cadia’.[17] Every time he motored up the ‘Mountains in his impressive automobile from Sydney, or even took the train, he would have passed through Warrimoo, which must have spurred his creative imagination.


 
However it is important to remember that Sir Arthur Rickard operated at ‘the bottom line’—selling land for profit. His advertisements for the ‘Warrimoo Estate’ offered properties from ten shillings per foot up to three pounds ten shillings per foot. The bottom end price, if the frontage of the property was sixty feet, would amount to six hundred shillings or thirty pounds. At the time—1920—the working man’s ‘Basic Wage’ (deemed by the Arbitration Commission to be the amount of weekly pay required to sustain a man, his wife and two children) was four pounds, so that it would not have been a difficult thing, on ‘Rickard’s Easy Terms’, to pay off the block in reasonable time—four to five years at two shillings per week or two to three years at four shillings per week. Of course, those more preferred blocks at three pounds ten per foot would’ve been a different proposition, probably amounting to hundreds of pounds.
 
Rickard was supremely confident that real estate investment was the surest thing since sunrise. ‘Rickard’s Realty Review’ explains…
 
…Land that was bought but a few years ago at shillings per acre is now being sold at pounds per foot. Fortunes, great and small, are being made on all sides. Money that has been returning 3 per cent in banks for years is being withdrawn to earn 100, 200, or even 300 percent for the prudent investor in real estate. Given the exercise of a little common sense, or the acceptance of advice from experienced men, an investor can hardly go wrong in Sydney. There is no boom-- just a big, steady increase in value. Desirable property anywhere, up to twenty miles from the city, cannot fail to receive added value from Sydney’s wonderful growth…[18]


Rickard provides his economic philosophy in the 'Realty Review'. His optimism did not prove accurate in the short run
 
The 1920’s was truly Arthur Rickard’s heyday. From the award of his knighthood in 1920 to the collapse of the market in 1930, Sir Arthur Rickard rode the Real Estate Express and shone like a beacon over Sydney society. Yet in Warrimoo the advance was not spectacular. The various schemes to attract ex-servicemen and war widows had limited success. He tinkered with the Lots on sale to make them more attractive, and that’s where the ‘fowlanthropy’ came in--although the larger lots did not create masses of orchards or a major poultry hub, some newcomers did at least try. Businesses simply didn’t find Warrimoo attractive enough to set up—the Highway blocks became residential or remained vacant. The main industry appeared to be logging in gullies nearby.
 
 
In 1930, burdened with increasing debt upon properties that demanded rates but could not be sold, Rickard’s Company on the Stock Exchange collapsed and went insolvent. Rickard himself remained a high-profile dealer in real estate, but the lustre had gone. No amount of largesse from right-wing politicians nor celebrated appearances could restore the status of those halcyon years.



Sir Arthur Rickard as KBE--'Knight of the British Empire'. He received his award in 1920 for 'services toward the war effort', no doubt in purchasing and promoting war bonds.

Throughout these years circumstantial evidence would seem to point to a special attachment of some kind to Warrimoo, but he was without doubt an enthusiastic promoter wherever he instituted new developments. His estates, whether in Woy Woy, Narrabeen, Bankstown or the ‘Mountains, were always characterised by original publicity and a unique approach. Without any clear statement from the subject himself, it would require a comprehensive comparison with the measures taken at other projects to fully ascertain the ‘special’ features of those taken at Warrimoo.

It is to be hoped future ‘Warrimoo Historians’ will be able to undertake such a task.




[1] This biography is entirely drawn from Peter Spearritt's contribution to the Australian Dictionary of Biography, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography

[2] ‘The Mysterious Name of Warrimoo’

[3] WAY, L. W., My Story, Cliff Lewis Printing, Caringbah, 2011, p.11

[4] Ibid, p.11

[5] Ibid, p.11

[6] Cf. Chapter in this blog entitled Arson at Warrimoo?

[7] Op Cit., My Story, pp 10-11

[8] Cf., Chapter in this blog entitled The Big House on The Boulevarde

[9] LUPTON, Maisie et al, Warrimoo Public School, The First Twenty-Five Years, magazine published by Warrimoo Public School Anniversary Committee, 1987, p.11

[10] Evans, Shirley & Smith, Pamela - REMEMBRANCE: Springwood District Honor Roll 1914-1919, p.14

[11] Ibid, p.14

[12] Op Cit., My Story, p.9

[13] Exactly who constructed the Warrimoo Pool is the subject of some contention, since Maisie Lupton had suggested her family had ‘built the pool’ in the 1930’s. Yet the chronological evidence and Rickard’s own advertising relating to a pool on the estate in the early 20’s is pretty incontestable… Feasibly, Maisie’s family had repaired the pool to make it operable again—something that was repeatedly required in sustaining a ‘natural’ swimming hole such as the one at Warrimoo.

[14] RICHARDSON, E. and MATTHEW, K, Warrimoo History Project, 2010—this whole section was researched and compiled by Evelyn Richardson and Kate Matthew. Their references will be duplicated below as footnotes to their work

[15] Ibid., biography of Ann Yousen

[16] Quoted from Leonie Campbell’s account as provided to RICHARDSON, E. and MATTHEW, K, Warrimoo History Project, 2010—this whole section was researched and written by Evelyn Richardson and Kate Matthew.

[17] sirarthurrickardblogspot.com

[18] Rickard’s Realty Review, Vol 1., No. 1., George Wilson Ed, Sydney Nov. 10,



No comments:

Post a Comment