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Robert Towers Gillies (1876–1941)

Robert Gillies, n.d.

Robert Gillies, n.d.

Mr. Robert Towers Gillies, one of the best known and respected residents of Tweed Heads, died at his residence on Saturday afternoon. Born on the Paterson River in 1876, he was the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. Dugald Gillies, of Tintenbar. He was one of the first pupils enrolled at the Pimlico public school. In 1903, while blacksmithing at Tatham, Richmond River, he married Miss Mabel Elsie McKeever, daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. W. McKeever, and in about 1908 he took up farming at Cudgera, where he lived for 14 years. With his family he then went to Tweed Heads. He was in turn blacksmith, farmer, journalist, member of Parliament, commission agent, and Government valuer. In 1925, while president of Tweed Shire Council, he was elected as one of the three members for Byron in N.S.W. Parliament during the period of proportional representation and served one term. It was during his office as president of the shire that he signed the contract for the construction of the first section of bitumen roadway between Tweed Heads and Murwillumbah. After leaving Parliament he conducted a commission agency at Fairfield, Sydney, and later came to Lismore, where he resided for two years and was a valuer in the Valuer-General's Department. He then returned to Tweed Heads, and again took a prominent part in local affairs. He became president of the Tweed Heads Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Urban Committee, president of the coursing club and vice president of the Tweed Heads-Coolangatta Bowling Club. He was twice financial secretary of the Loyal Cooloon Lodge and honorary secretary of the Coolangatta Surf Life saving club, also foundation member of the Point Danger branch of the Surf Life-saving Association. He joined the M.U.I.O.O.F. in the Richmond River district in 1905 and held office as D.G.M. of Tweed River district in 1916, and for many years was district secretary, being also a member of Lodge Dawn U.G.L. Deceased, whose brother, the late Mr. W. N. Gillies, was formerly Premier of Queensland, is survived by his widow, three sons and three daughters, as well as eight grandchildren. The sons are Messrs. David William, Guy and Douglas (all of Sydney), and daughters are Mrs. V. Wright (Eugowra). Mrs. J. J. Long (Rosehill and Mrs. L. Hooper (Bundaberg). Messrs. John Gillies (Bellingen) and Argyle (Upper Brookfield) are surviving brothers. Mrs. W. Anderson (Brisbane) is a sister. The funeral was largely attended, and moved from the residence yesterday afternoon for the Tweed Heads cemetery. Rev. W. Hopwood Evans officiated at the graveside, and the cortege included many members of the Masonic and Oddfellows Lodge in regalia. There were also representatives of many public bodies.

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'Gillies, Robert Towers (1876–1941)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 July 2024.

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