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Robertson, John Seymour (1882–1958)

John Robertson, n.d.

John Robertson, n.d.

from Pastoral Review and Graziers' Record, 18 September 1958

The recent death at Hay, N.S.W., of Mr. John Seymour Robertson, of Toganmain, Carrathool, N.S.W., removed one of the best known and most popular members of the older pastoral community in Riverina.

Mr. Robertson was the only son of the late Mr. Thomas Robertson, who acquired Toganmain, one of the principal grazing properties on the south side of the Murrumbidgee River, between Darlington Point and Carrathool, in 1876. He took over the property from Sir Alexander Macleay, from whose name was derived the well-known A.M.L. brand of the Toganmain Merino wool clip, which for more than 75 years has had an enviable reputation for quality and style in Australian and London wool trade circles. The death of Mr. Robertson conjures up in the mind many pictures of the pioneering days when those great pastoral holdings, embracing Toganmain, Tubbo, Kerarbury, Burrabogie, and Eli Elwah, between them occupied all the Murrumbidgee River frontage from Darlington Point to Hay. Toganmain at one time had 70 shearers on the board and in those days the wool was shipped on the river steamers or hauled over the plains by bullock and horse teams to the railhead.

The late Mr. J. S. Robertson was born in Seymour, Vic., in 1882 and educated at Cheltenham and Cambridge, in England, and at Dresden, in Germany. Following the death of his father he returned to Australia as a very young man to assume responsibilities at Toganmain, under the station manager. Stud book records show that the control of the Toganmain flocks passed from Sir Alexander Macleay to Thomas Robertson in 1876, to John Seymour Robertson in 1912, and to John S. Robertson and Son in 1937.

Back at Toganmain Mr. Robertson displayed an intense love of the land and his flocks. He kept a private stud simply to properly maintain the splendid quality of his sheep. He lived a full life and travelled widely, but he always loved best to return to Toganmain.

Mr. Robertson did not enter prominently into public life, but was a member of the Hay P.P. Board and for many years was a committeeman of the Waradgery Club, of which he was a trustee when he died. He was fond of most forms of sport, including cricket and polo, and was a great patron of country racing, particularly picnic racing. Many horses of his breeding carried his cerise and black colours at various meetings in the country. He was president of the Riverina Race Club for a period and was part owner of two Riverina Picnic Race Club Cup winners.

A gentlemanly and charming companion and host, the late Mr. John Robertson generously supported numerous local patriotic, charitable, and sporting organisations. The Robertson wing of the nurses' home at the Hay Hospital was his gift in memory of his father.

Some 50 years ago he married Miss Constance Bettington, of Parramatta, and of Brindley Park, Merriwa, N.S.W., and she predeceased him by five years. He served in World War I in coastal defence units, while his only son, Graham, a pilot of the R.A.A.F., lost his life in a crash in World War II. Mr. Robertson is survived by his only daughter, Rua (Mrs. George Osborne), and by five grandchildren.

Original publication

  • Pastoral Review and Graziers' Record, 18 September 1958, p 1033 (view original)

Additional Resources

  • 'Toganmain', Pastoralists' Review, 15 August 1911, pp 559-602 (pdf)

Citation details

'Robertson, John Seymour (1882–1958)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 22 September 2020.

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