Raine and Horne

No Place Like Home Warburton notes in her 1999 book Private Property: A Family and a Firm: “Finding their rents and taxes suddenly increased – some by up to 500 percent – owners and trustees of sizable pieces of land began subdividing and selling where they could”. This saw tremendous growth in real estate business, and coupled with Sydney’s burgeoning population of 658,800, the suburbs spread outwards. The potential to profit from property sales saw the rise of some shady real estate dealers, and in 1910 the longstanding agents including Raine & Horne, banded together, recognising the need to form a professional association. As a consequence, the Real Estate Auctioneers & Estate Agents’ Association of New South Wales came into being to protect the professional stranding of its members. As Sydney grew, huge tracts of land were divided into subdivisions and sold, and this accounted for a significant volume of Raine & Horne’s sales Advertisements become lasting works of art Long before photography played a key role in marketing homes for sale, hand-painted posters by talented artists were used to advertise listed properties. The State Library of New South Wales holds thousands of real estate agents’ advertisements or surveyors’ sketches created between the 1880s and 1930s as the large estates of Sydney were broken up and sold. Many of them are beautiful pictorial records of the early days of these subdivisions, and as the extract below from The Sun newspaper confirms, the luscious artworks were highly admired even in their day. Preparing for Dangar Island “Colorful posters in the Impressionistic manner, designed by a well-known artist, have been prepared for Messrs. Raine and Horne’s second subdivision of Dangar Island at Easter. They will shortly be seen about the city, and are sufficiently striking to make one stop for a second look. The Island is depicted in a hazy blending of colors, with the hills of the mainland as a background and, balancing the design, a black spider web outline of the Hawkesbury Bridge cutting across the foreground corner. The value of advertising extensively was proved at the first sale of Dangar Island, when practically every lot was sold on the day of the sale. For this subdivision, more than a mile of water frontage land has been prepared.” The Sun 15 March 1922 page 11, with thanks to Dangar Island Historical Society The war years of 1914-18 saw business activity slow. That said, by 1920 the firm’s annual sales passed the million pound mark. As Sydney grew, huge tracts of land were divided into subdivisions and sold, and this accounted for a significant volume of Raine & Horne’s sales. Yaralla Estate, owned by merchant Thomas Walker, included much of what is now known as North Strathfield, Concord, and Concord West. The subdivision sale, held by Raine & Horne in conjunction with King & Humphrey in 1920, constituted a record for the day. As the Sydney Morning Herald reported, “The sale catalogue featured 400 lots, of which 238 were sold at auction in 160 minutes” and the only reason the auctioneer “knocked off” was because it became dark. The high days of Sydneysiders snapping up land to achieve their quarter-acre dream, ended abruptly in mid-1929 when the Great Depression hit. Unemployment reached 40 percent in some areas, and as the basic wage fell so did the birth rate. Like all businesses, the firm experienced a fall in revenue, though the Cooper Estate was a valuable source of continuing income through the worst of the downturn. 96

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