Region grieves loss of man who shaped Gympie as we know it
ONE of the founders of respected Gympie and Sunshine Coast building firm Robertson Brothers, Lindsay Michael Robertson, was buried at a private funeral service in Gympie recently.
Mr Robertson (Lindsay), formerly of Chatsworth Road, passed away in the care of Cooinda Aged Care on July 8. He was 93 years old.
Mr Robertson was born on October 23, 1926 in the family home at Bannockburn. He was the second of seven sons of Eliza Willey and George Robertson.
The early part of his childhood was spent in Victoria, often rabbiting with the dogs and ferrets, or attempting to make a pence or two selling bark and sticks from the family’s billy-goat cart.
In 1938, the family moved to a farm, Wurt Wurt Koort in Henty, Western Victoria. As Lindsay recounts, he was tethering a mob of his Grandad’s sheep on the Ballarat Rd to Gowanlea, when next minute, a furniture truck goes past filled with furniture, two kids in the front and two kids in the back. An old BSA motorbike followed the truck, ridden by his father George, with his mother in the sidecar along with their family dog, Flossie. His Grandad would tell him to pack up his sugar bag full of his belongings and catch the next train from Wingeel to Henty.
This move to Wurt Wurt Koort, when Lindsay was just 12 years old was to be the beginning of his working career, and the end of schooling as he knew it. Farming at Yan Yean was next, followed by Ripplebrook in 1945, where the family purchased their first farm. During this time, his father’s work ethic: “You worked hard and you got the job done” was instilled in Lindsay.
1948 saw Lindsay move to Queensland to live on a farm at Kybong (just south of Gympie). Lindsay’s first job after moving to Qld, was building fire breaks in the Cooran Forestry. Meanwhile, his father was looking around for another dairy farm, and on October 5, 1948, he bought the farm at Kanyan, just north of Gympie.
Away from work, good times were had with music, meeting girls at the local dances and sports. Lindsay loved football, Victorian style. Even up until his last days in his Aged Care Home of Cooinda, Lindsay followed AFL updates – particularly of his beloved team, Geelong.
In 1950, Lindsay formed a building partnership with his brother Keith and together they established Robertson Brothers. As Lindsay recalled, “Keith said to me, you’ve got 340 pounds and I’ve got the knowledge. I think we should go building.”
The partnership between Lindsay and Keith, proudly known as Robertson Brothers, was to be an extraordinary success story. For nearly 50 years, they were building contractors who shaped and played a pivotal role in building Gympie as it is known today.
A sample of Robertson Brother’s achievements in Gympie: The Pavilion, the Gympie Civic Centre, Senior Citizens, Great Hall (Gympie High School). In addition, the first two homes Lindsay and Keith built are still standing on Cootharaba Rd, Gympie, a testament they built good quality homes.
During their building career, Lindsay and Keith would buy most of the timber they needed from a sawmill on Old Wolvi Rd. The owner would often say to Lindsay: “You should buy this mill”, and in 1976, that event took place and Robertson Brothers Sawmill was born.
Successful with one sawmill, Robertson Brothers acquired their second sawmill in 1992, in the little township of Brooweena.
Lindsay was a trusted businessman and a friend to many. He did not distinguish. If there was a problem, he would listen and then find the solution. He would speak to others to get the best advice before he would act.
He would say “know your weaknesses and know your strengths” and, “you’ll never make money just working for yourself, it is those that work for you who will make you achieve your goals in business”.
In 2014, Lindsay and Keith were honoured with life membership to the Master Builders Association. An enormously proud moment. This was joined by other proud moments in Lindsay’s career, namely 50 years in Rotary and 50 years in Lodge.
Lindsay married Evelyn Riches, October 15, 1955. They had three children, nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild. It was a solid and loving marriage with Evelyn by his side throughout all of his achievements and milestones.
In July 2017, Lindsay and Evelyn moved into Cooinda Aged Care.
Sadly, Lindsay would only have his wife for a very short time but Cooinda was to be another chapter in Lindsay’s life. A place where staff grew to love him as much as his family and friends. Lindsay really did show who he was, where he came from and the values he held in life.
Lindsay will be remembered for his smile, his kind words and his positive outlook on life.