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Stanton, Richard Patrick Joseph (1862–1943)

by Terry Kass

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 12, (MUP), 1990

Richard Patrick Joseph Stanton (1862-1943), auctioneer and real estate agent, was born on 1 February 1862 probably at Strokestown, Roscommon, Ireland, son of Patrick Stanton, policeman, and his first wife Anne Maria, née Mulvehill. The family reached Sydney as assisted migrants on 29 November in the Eastern Empire. Raised as a Catholic, he was educated at St Mary's College, Lyndhurst. In 1882 his father set up as a real estate agent and furniture dealer at Summer Hill; Richard took over Stanton & Son when his father died in 1889. An alderman on Ashfield Municipal Council (1890-1914), he was mayor in 1893-94 and 1906. At Ashfield he had married with Presbyterian forms Florence Beatrice Nicholls, daughter of an accountant, on 1 November 1893; she participated in her husband's property dealings.

The Nicholls became involved in Stanton's business ventures: with them he purchased land north of Parramatta Road at Ashfield in 1901. The Haberfield estate integrated subdivision, controls, house construction and tree-planting in a single development which was marketed as a 'Garden Suburb'. Stanton was influenced by an astute assessment of the real estate market, rather than by attachment to the rus in urbe ideal. Rosebery model and industrial suburb followed.

In 1902 Stanton had established a city office in Pitt Street in which the Nicholls were again involved. With H. M. Hawkins and other agents, in 1908 he formed the Western Suburbs Real Estate Agents Association. Using his personal standing to overcome the animosity between city and suburban real estate agents, he called a meeting in September 1910 which established the Real Estate Auctioneers and Agents' Association of New South Wales (Real Estate Institute from 1921). He long served on its board and was president in 1922-23. Always interested in the latest ideas, Stanton visited North America (1905), Britain (1913 and 1923) and made a world tour (1927-29). In 1916 a timber bungalow of California design had been erected on his estate at Rosebery; the style was widely adopted.

In 1913 he had established Stanton & Son Ltd as a private company with himself the governing director; his two sons later joined the firm. By 1924 he had opened eight suburban branch offices. He invested in country properties and in the 1920s was managing director of Bindebange station, Queensland, Haberfield Pty Ltd, the Town Planning Co. of Australia Ltd and several other real estate companies, and was chairman of the London & Lancashire Insurance Co. Ltd. In 1929 he rebuilt Stanton House, at 133 Pitt Street, but the business encountered difficulties during the Depression. He was a member of the State government's Town Planning Advisory Board, chairman of the Queen Victoria Homes for Consumptives and a fellow of the Auctioneers' and Estate Agents' Institute of the United Kingdom (1913). A valuer to the Sydney Municipal Council, he also advised local, State and Federal governments on resumption schemes.

Stanton had regular features, carefully-waved grey hair and a cleft chin. He lived for many years at Haberfield and liked playing golf, but, professional in outlook, he made business his main hobby. Experienced and astute, he unsucessfully sought to improve the public perception of property agents and to raise the ethics of the profession. Survived by his wife, two sons and two daughters, Stanton died in debt at his Potts Point home on 11 April 1943 and was cremated with Anglican rites.

Select Bibliography

  • J. M. Freeland, Architecture in Australia (Melb, 1968)
  • T. Kass, The Sign of the Waratah (Syd, 1987)
  • Real Estate Institute of New South Wales, Journal, Jan 1940, May 1943
  • Commonwealth Institute of Valuers, Valuer, 1 Jan 1938
  • Minutes of Board and General Meetings, 1910-43 (Real Estate Institute of New South Wales, Sydney)
  • Companies Office, Company packets, no 5021, Stanton & Sons Ltd (State Records New South Wales).

Citation details

Terry Kass, 'Stanton, Richard Patrick Joseph (1862–1943)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/stanton-richard-patrick-joseph-8626/text15071, published in hardcopy 1990, accessed online 3 September 2014.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 12, (MUP), 1990

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