Telling Places in Country (TPIC)


Aboriginal Life Stories - Robinson's Clan Guides

Also known as Black Bob, Robert's clan name was unknown and was aged about 21 in 1829 when he first met Robinson in August that year. Robert spoke English being raised from the age of about 18 months old, by Mr and Mrs Bushby of Muddy plains, Richmond, who considered him a 'faithful and trusty servant' (Plomley, 1966, 109 note 69). He had led a 'civilised life' according to Robinson (Plomley, 1966, 69). Robert had worked for different colonists and, finding himself unemployed and in a state of poverty, offered his services to Robinson in early January 1830 (Plomley, 1966, 94). Robinson considered Robert ' capable of preforming any act of labour connected with agriculture equal to an European husbandman... also a good boatman and bore an un-reproachable character for probity and sobriety' Plomley, 1966, 104 note 45". He had been granted 10 acres of land by Governor Arthur on Bruny Island (Plomley, 1966, 109 note 69) and this may have been the first time a grant was offered to a clansperson. However it is not known whether he took up the offer of a land grant. Robert joined Robinson on his journey to the West Coast on 1 February 1830 (Plomley, 1966, 113), and was obviously an excellent shot as he took down four ducks with one shot. Robert left Robinson's party in October1830 and was reportedly taken and put in the penitentiary. Robert arrived on Swan Island to join Robinson on 41 December 1830 on the Opossum (Plomley, 1966, 305 and 443 note 87). He died at Launceston on 23 March 1832, the day before Moulteheerlargenna, of 'an inflammation of the chest'. He was buried after a service conducted by clergyman Dr Browne, at 4 pm on 24 March with 'the same rites a white person' because he had been baptised as a child (Plomley, 1966, 594).