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Robinson, Anthony Bennett (1831–1908)

It is with extreme regret that we announce the death of Mr. Anthony Bennett Robinson, J.P., at "Yatala," Avondale-road, Armadale. For thirty years Mr. Robinson held the position of Commercial editor of "The Age," his connection with this journal dating back to the year 1876, shortly after his arrival in Victoria. Born in Bath, Somersetshire, England, on 5th September, 1831, he was equipped with a sound commercial, as well as a general, education, and being of an enterprising disposition he left England as a young man, spending many subsequent years abroad. In the course of his travels he visited almost every country on the face of the globe, and the vast and varied experience accumulated in his wanderings served to develop an exceptionally vigorous literary style, which, coupled with a keen tenacity of purpose, made him one of the foremost writers in the early days of the State. He lived for several years in Hong Kong, Bombay and Jamaica, in each of which centres he found ready acceptance for the work of his pen. Ultimately, turning towards Australia, he journeyed from the East, and settled in the north of Queensland. This settlement, however, was not to be permanent, for soon afterwards he moved further south, and thereafter made his home in Victoria. He had great capacity for work, and possessed in an uncommon degree a faculty for practical economics.

As Commercial editor of "The Age," Mr. Robinson for many years occupied a unique and honored position in the mercantile, shipping and financial world. His articles in the Commercial columns of this journal were regarded as the very highest authority in Australia upon market movements, upon the trend of prices and the developments of trade generally. Mr. Robinson's dicta on commercial matters were highly appreciated by people engaged in trade, and even commercial men opposed to his views admired the sincerity of purpose, and recognised the weight attached to his criticisms. Possessing a wide experience of the world, an intimate knowledge of finance, and a close acquaintance with politicians and financial and commercial magnates, he had little difficulty in raising the Commercial columns of "The Age" to the highest place in public esteem. Agriculturists and dairy farmers throughout the State, who were interested in the condition of the butter market months ahead, always placed the greatest reliance upon Mr. Robinson's forecasts, which were distinguished as a rule by a remarkable degree of accuracy. His comments upon the state of business, the fluctuations of the money market, and the possible changes in trade throughout the world, were always regarded with the utmost respect by the trading community of Melbourne. When the different protectionist tariffs were before the Victorian Parliament, and in fact before they reached Parliament, Mr. Robinson played an important part in framing the schedule of duties.

Mr. Robinson was a diligent student of the world's financial operations, and he became an undoubted force in local finance. On many occasions he was consulted by the Government of Victoria in connection with the notation of loans, he had a marked influence with leading politicians where money matters were concerned, and it was not surprising therefore during the great financial crisis of 1893, the most disastrous period Victoria had ever known, he was frequently called to the councils of the associated banks. By the shipping world Mr. Robinson was held in equally high respect. His comments upon the latest developments in shipping trade, the opening up of fresh trade routes, and the trend of shipping legislation were read with keen interest. It was well known that before putting pen to paper his mind had been saturated with all the information available about his subject, and consequently his well matured views were given the important place they deserved. As an intimate friend of Sir Joseph Ward, Premier of New Zealand, Mr. Robinson had an important influence upon New Zealand State finance. During the many visits he paid to New Zealand he was consulted by the New Zealand Government with regard to its financial affairs. A cablegram was received yesterday from Sir. Joseph Ward, stating that he "deeply regretted to hear of my old friend's death."

Some two years ago Mr. Robinson relinquished the office of Commercial editor of "The Age," and took a trip to England. On his return he revisited Queensland, and voluntarily occupied himself in investigating affairs in connection with the sugar industry in that State. In 1906 Mr. Robinson received a commission as justice of the peace for the central bailiwick of Victoria, having some years before had a similar honor conferred upon him by the then "colony" of New Zealand. He leaves a widow and five adult sons. Of the latter two, Lionel and William, reside in London. The funeral will take place to-day at 3 p.m., the place of interment being the St. Kilda Cemetery.

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Citation details

'Robinson, Anthony Bennett (1831–1908)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/robinson-anthony-bennett-23092/text32362, accessed 22 November 2017.

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