Arthur Rickard,

The Subdivision Specialist

Arthur Rickard, a new and enthusiastic Sydney land developer, purchased the 152 acres (now Empire Bay) from the Noble family in 1905. The Noble family owned the 152 acres for 66 years without any development.

Arthur Rickard, eager to turn his investment into profits, quickly subdivided the 152 acres into 55 waterfront residential sites and 15 larger orchard or poultry blocks and had them on the market by November 1905.

A natural salesman, Arthur Rickard, one of the first real estate developers in NSW, created inventive advertising campaigns to sell the subdivision. He named the new development ‘Sorrento Estate’ after the town, Sorrento, in Italy, which for centuries has been a well-known health resort. Arthur Rickard began promoting the ‘Sorrento Estate near Woy Woy’ as one of the “healthiest spots in Australia and an ideal health and pleasure resort”.

His strikingly illustrated advertisements urged families to purchase the blocks of land, availing themselves of “Rickard's Easy Payment Terms”. The advertisements promoting the wonderful, healthy lifestyle suitable for flower culture, fishing, bee farms, boating, orchards, shooting and poultry farms.

On the day of the auction, 13th Nov 1905, Arthur Rickard arranged a train from Central Station to Woy Woy, then a motor launch to Sorrento Estate. The glossy brochures promoted the sale of the blocks of land with a “splendid band and light refreshments”. Rickard Road was named after Arthur who created the subdivision. It was several years (1912) before all the blocks were sold.

by Robert Thompson