Friend William Robinson
Margaret Robinson
James Lewis Robinson
Frederick Lewis Robinson

William Alfred Robinson
, the son of James and Mary (née Kidney) Robinson, was born in the Maidstone district of Kent about 1830. At the time of the 1851 English census, he was living in the family home with his widowed father and five of his siblings, all of whom (apart from the elder of the two girls who acted as housekeeper) were agricultural labourers. The household was composed as follows: James (55), William (21), Stephen (19), Nicholas (17), Levingard (Lavinia?) (15), Charles (13), Sarah A (6).

William married 16-year-old Ellen Baker, the daughter of Robert and Elizabeth (née Mosley) Baker, in Maidstone on 6 May 1854. Two sons were born to them over the next four years while they were still living in England—Friend William (b. reg. September quarter 1855) and Henry (b. reg. December quarter 1857).

Following the example of William’s sister Augusta Sophia, who had already emigrated to Australia and was living in Sydney, the Robinsons set sail from Plymouth on the 517-ton Ascendant (Captain Robert Spencer) on 2 March 1858. Their ship anchored at the bar in Moreton Bay on 19 June of that year. Happy to relate, there were no deaths on the voyage; but young Henry Robinson passed away a few years later on 15 December 1862.

William and Ellen’s family grew in Brisbane with the addition of: Elizabeth Emily (b. 29 January 1860; d. 28 September 1902), Kate (b. 13 January 1863; d. 31 January 1881), William Henry (b. 20 March 1865; d. 30 January 1956), Ellen (b. 23 August 1866; d. 26 February 1950), George (b. 8 October 1868; d. 1 July 1930), Alice (b. 13 April 1871; d. 28 March 1948), Charles (b. 24 August 1873; d. 26 June 1915), Florence (b. 18 June 1877; d. 8 August 1951) and Alfred (b. 1 November 1879; d. 26 May 1962). Details of the marriages of these children are endnoted.

William Alfred Robinson—at various times a labourer, farmer, milkman and carter—died on 12 April 1917 and was laid to rest in the Bulimba (Balmoral) Cemetery two days later. Ellen (b. Leeds, Kent, about 1838) passed away on 13 November 1921 and was buried beside her husband (12 77) on the following day. The remains of two of their sons, Charles and George, are buried in the adjacent grave (12 76).

Friend William Robinson, the eldest of the above children, married Susannah Elizabeth Barron, the daughter of John and Sarah (née Long) Barron, on 27 April 1875. They lived in the Brisbane suburb of Coorparoo where Fred (as he was generally known) earned a modest living by offering public transport in a wagonette to the Victoria Bridge. In time they became the parents of a large family: Mary Elizabeth (b. 8 May 1876; d. 8 September 1956), Henry William (b. 12 September 1878; d. 5 December 1962), Charles Alfred (b. 23 December 1879?; bur. 2 October 1975?), Ellen (b. 10 October 1880; d. 24 January 1957), Friend Alfred (b. 12 March 1883; d. ?), George Herbert (b. 19 May 1885; d. 24 January 1963), Kate (known as Kit, b. 12 October 1887; d. 17 January 1960), Emily Maud (b. 19 December 1890; d. ?), and William Wallace (b. 5 September 1893; d. ?). Details of the marriages of these children are endnoted. 

For reasons which need not be spelled out in detail here, Susannah separated from Fred, leaving him free to establish a new permanent relationship with Margaret Green and to raise a second family. Some of Fred and Margaret’s time together was spent in Sydney where, in the Randwick area, Fred put his expertise as a horse trainer to good use. The children of this liaison (born in Brisbane unless otherwise stated) were as follows: Oswin Thomas (b. 11 August 1891? and d. 1891?), Percy William (b. 10 September 1892; d. 30 June 1953), Sydney (b.? and d. 1894), Florence (known as Sis, b. 1895 Ashfield), Edith May (known as Molly, b. 1897 Randwick; d. 4 December 1939 Randwick (not in NSW BDM), Friend Austin (known as Fred, b. 1899 Waterloo NSW; d. 30 April 1956, Alice Iereen (known as Illie, b. 22 December 1901), Norman (b. 4 April 1904; d. 20 June 1985), Violet Ellen (known as Dolly, b. 9 June 1906; d. 15 August 1994). Details of the marriages of these children are endnoted.

Margaret (aka Margaret Lily) Green was born on 12 October 1867 in Nudgee (now a Brisbane suburb), to John (a labourer) and Catherine (née Dooley) Green. Her parents, both of whom hailed from Ireland (John from Doon, Co. Tipperary, and Catherine from Co. Westmeath), were married in St Stephen’s Cathedral, North Brisbane, on 12 February 1861. To the three siblings who greeted Margaret’s arrival—Ellen (b. 30 April 1863), Michael (b. 1 September 1864) and John (b. 12 March 1866)—were later added Thomas (b. 12 April 1869; d. 17 January 1872), Patrick (b. 25 October 1870) and Catherine (b. 16 March 1878).

John Green died on 13 June 1897 and was buried in the Nudgee (Roman Catholic) Cemetery.. His wife Catherine was laid to rest beside him after her death on 7 December 1902.

Following their return from Sydney, Fred and Margaret settled on a dairy property at Cooper’s Plains which, after their deaths, was taken over by their eldest daughter Florence and her Belfast-born husband William (Billy) Kane. Fred continued to train horses which he entered in races at Kedron Park; and in 1912 he travelled to the United States on racing business.

Margaret Green died on 27 March 1923 and was buried in the Cooper’s Plains Cemetery two days later. Those with official roles at the Roman Catholic burial service were: D Cremin (undertaker), the Reverend J Gallagher, and U Wright and M Fitzgerald (witneses).


Fred Robinson
passed away on 21 November 1924 and, in a funeral that left from the Cooper’s Plains residence of his daughter Florence (Sis) Kane, was laid to rest on the following afternoon in the same grave as Margaret. Over the next three years, this sacred site would also receive the remains of two of their grandchildren.

Norman Robinson, the son of Friend William Robinson and Margaret Green, was born at Cooper’s Plains on 4 April 1904. He married Ettie Kalmia Fischer on 9 April 1924 and they became the parents of three sons: James Lewis, Frederick Lewis and Henry David Norman.

James Lewis Robinson was only four days old when he died on 26 August 1927. Assisting at his burial two days later in the Cooper’s Plains Cemetery were: D Cremin (undertaker) and Tom William Spring and G Fabian (witnesses). As mentioned elsewhere in the pages, Tom William Spring dug quite a few of the graves in this cemetery.

Frederick Lewis Robinson was born and died in the Brisbane Hospital on 30 November 1931 and was buried two days later in the Cooper’s Plains Cemetery. The undertaker was D Cremin and the witnesses were J Dibble and LG Quinn.

Norman Robinson (a retired wool classer) was living at Raven St, Camp Hill, at the time of his death in the Princess Alexandra Hospital on 20 June 1985. His mortal remains were interred in the Mount Gravatt Cemetery four days later. Ettie lived to be 92 was laid to rest in the same grave (lawn L8 592) as her husband on 3 May 1996.

After Fred Robinson’s death Susannah Elizabeth (née Barron), the mother of his first family, married James Porteous on 25 March 1925. Recalling her death in Townsville on 19 October 1935, her daughter Kate (the wife of William James Lawson) inserted in memoriam notices in the Townsville newspapers in the following year.

Robinson photo: Friend on right corner. Middle front: William Alfred. Alfred and Charles on either side of him. Back left: another brother.