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John Hill Robertson (b. 19 November 1870, d. 11 January 1955)John Hill Robertson (son of Albert Louis Robertson and Isabella Spier) was born 19 November 1870 in ?, and died 11 January 1955 in Narranderra, NSW.He married (1) Lilian Harriet Victoria Foy on 12 September 1894 in St Thomas, Church of England, Enfield.He married (2) Jean Shiel Welch on 1924 in North Sydney.
Notes for John Hill Robertson:
Architect who designed pubs and churches.
played the organ for the Presbyterian Church in Narranderra
John is buried at St Thomas', Enfield although his name is not on the sarcophagus(the Robertson's sneaked him in before the Foy's found out and when they did all hell broke loose).
John was a bit of a black sheep, he was not popular with the Foy family.
John Hill was a member of an illustrious family of architects.
John Hill was the second of the first Louis' sons to follow in his father's footsteps.In 1904, his elder brother, Louis Spier, established the firm of Louis S. Robertson & Son in Sydney, which was carried out by his son Louis Leighton.
John Hill arrive in Narrandera in 1909 as Government Architect and lived in what became known as the Doctor's residence round the corner from the Royal Mail Hotel, which now overlooks the War Memorial Park.
In 1910, the new Masonic Temple was completed and consecrated and in appreciation of his work as architect, he was presented with a very valuable silver tray, 470mm x 770mm.This tray bears the inscription:
Bro. J. H. Robertson
Lodge Leopold No. 128
Rendered to the Craft
Included in the presentation was an ornate silver service, sugar basin, milk jug, teapot and hot water jug with heating appliance underneath.Only the beautiful tray is still in the possession of a family member.
John Hill played the organ for the Lodge and about 1928 his son Malcolm remembers being with his father to listen to him practising on the new organ to assess its accoustic effect in the Lodge, the bellows being driven by an electric motor. The new organ replace the old pedal organ.The design by John Hill for the ceiling of the Lodge accompanies this article.
As Government Architect, he drove his horse and buggy backwards and forwards to Leeton and Yanco, sleeping in a tent at night and using it as his office during the day, as he surveyed for the Government, the farms which were allotted to the veterans of World War I.
The rough gravel roads between Leeton and the Irrigation Area, which included the towns of Leeton, Griffith, Yenda and Whitton, were strewn with empty beer and other bottles, for it was a 'dry' area, probably because there were no licensed hotels in the area at that time.
One of his early works, after going into private practice, was the famous Brewery tower built in Narrandera for Harry Lincoln - Oakbank Brewery.For many years, John Hill Robertson was the only architect covering a large area of the Riverina.
The following is a list of only some of the works he carried out:
1911 Additions to the hospital including new wards.
1917 New Catholic Church at Grong Grong to replace the earlier one destroyed by fire.
He also carried out additions to the convent in Narrandera.He was a close friend of FatherHartigan(well known as the poet John O'Brien)and often played the organ in the Church.
1920 Rebuilt Hankinson's store which had been destroyed by fire.
1922 The Murrumbidgee Club ballroom.His son Malcolm remembers thechildren's fancy dressball held during the festivities in Polo Week.
As children, he and his brother Colin attended this Ball dressed in black and white Pierotcostumes, with white conical caps and black and white pom poms from top to toe.
John Hill built many halls, churches and hotels in the Riverina.He designed many of thehomesteads for large station properties; Yamma(Stan O'Keefe), North Berembed(Hugh Andrew),Widgiewa(Otway Falkiner), Coleambally(Jack Steele) and Tubbo.He carried out extensions onothers.
He was a foundation member of the bowling club.
1924 His own substantial residence, corner Cadell and King Streets.
1924/25 The Hydro Hotel in Leeton was originally built as a residence for married officers working forthe Water Conservation & Irrigation Commission.John Hill designed the extensions in1924/25 when another wing was added.
At the same time, the first public bar, which was separated from the Hydro, was built on thecorner down from the hotel.
Some of the hotels he constructed: Griffith Hotel; Whitton Hotel, Leeton Hotel; Yenda Hotel;Highway Inn on the junction of Cobb and Sturt Highways.
1927 The brick fire brigade station.
1929 The Council Chambers, now the Narrandera Shire building.This building was given prideof place in the Sydney Morning Herald's Building page of 10.12.1929 and named 'Town Hall'.It is described in full as having distinctive tone and striking character.The article givesdetails of all materials used in what was called a building of the lateRenaissance period andmost suitable for a large country town.
More new hospital ward, nurses quarters and obstetric ward.
1930 Renovations to the Union Bank, Yass.
1935 At the official opening of the Murrumbidgee Club House, was President.
1937 Extensions to Murrumbidgee Club House.
1938 Criterion Hotel, Narrandera.
1939} John Hill was architect for Tooths and carried out maintenance andrepairs in all their
1945} hotels in the Riverina during World War II.He was also architect for the Commercial Bankof Sydney.
Over the years, he built homes for many citizens.
John Hill retired at the age of 82, having given forty-three years of his working life to Narranderaand many towns in the Riverina; surely a unique record.
He is survived by his daughter Harriet and sons William, Walter, Malcolm, Colin and Donald.
More About John Hill Robertson and Lilian Harriet Victoria Foy:
Marriage: 12 September 1894, St Thomas, Church of England, Enfield.
More About John Hill Robertson and Jean Shiel Welch:
Marriage: 1924, North Sydney.
Children of John Hill Robertson and Lilian Harriet Victoria Foy are:
- +Harold John Hill Robertson, b. 26 June 1895, 65 Macauley Street Leichhardt(at home), d. 26 December 1964.
- +William Frank Robertson, b. 6 May 1897, d. Abt. 1992.
- +Harriet Isabel(Queenie) Robertson, b. 19 October 1905, d. 25 August 1992.
- +Walter Theodore Robertson, b. 13 May 1907, d. 17 November 1994.
- +Hugh Malcolm Robertson, b. 6 March 1912, d. 8 July 2000.
- +Colin Parke Robertson, b. 19 May 1913, d. 7 October 2001, Sydney, Australia.
Children of John Hill Robertson and Jean Shiel Welch are:
- Nancy Robertson, b. 2 August 1925, d. 1940.
- +Donald Hill Robertson.