James Need Robertson

James Need RobertsonJames Need Robertson was born 5 October 1877 at Woodford (near Warrnambool) Victoria (FN25938) [or Ellerslie Victoria {not far from Warrnambool} according to the death certificate] and died 31 January 1953, in Perth, WA.

He was, among things a miner and construction foreman. He studied for the Baptist Ministry but withdrew. He was a fireman on a Murray River paddle steamer before 1900. He came to WA and lived and worked in Claremont, where his first two children were born, as a ganger and foreman in public works. Returned to Geelong, where his third and last child was born, some time between 1909 and 1915, and then returned to WA.

Part of James Need's work history, including some excerpts from references
(Details should be checked, as at least one of the 1916 dates is wrong, but I don't have the documents.)

Described as a 'yard foreman' on death certificate, and a 'miner' on marriage certificate, 1906.
To July 1910, foreman with Sherlaw and White, Subiaco.
To November 1913 'for a considerable time', foreman with the Metropolitan Sewerage Works.
Then 'foreman caulker' on the Busselton town water supply reticulation for about 3 months.
For 18 months to April 1916 'in charge of various sections of the outfall sewer at the Geelong Sewerage Works, foreman for excavation pipe layers', for Stone & Siddeley Ltd, Geelong.
For about 12 months to July 1916, ganger on day labour works.
To April 1922, employed by George Edwards & Co., Contractors, of Claremont, in charge of road and footpath construction. ('He is a good man at that class of work and a handy man at anything to which we have put him. He is quite capable of handling men under his charge.')
To May 1923 for 9 months, 'construction work embracing drainage, excavation, and concrete work' with the Metropolitan Water Supply Dept.
March 1924 - November 1925 foreman with the Claremont Municipal Council.

James Need Robertson with two of his four brothers (John, Abbott, Frederick and William De Witt). I'm fairly sure that's Abbott (born 1871) on the left, and Frederick (born 1873) on the right. As Jim was youngest (born 1877) he would have to stand, wouldn't he?

The youngish father with all three of his children. As the youngest, Linda, was born at the end of 1915 (in Geelong), this would be 1916, when James Need turned 39. Adie Christina (right) was born 10 September 1907 in Ballarat, James Norman was born in Claremont WA, on 3 August 1909, and Mary Linda was born 24 November 1915 in Geelong.
I can assure you that, although everyone looks grumpy in this photo, it must have been something the photographer said, as in fact everyone here had a pleasant and sanguine personality.

Some time in the 1940s, here is Granddad with a rather striking cap. On the other side of the car belonging, I assume (because of the Dalwallinu plates), to one of his sons-in-law, Frank Reudavey, that's his wife, Christina Bennett Robertson, and his son-in-law, my father, Dave Gillard. The photo was taken in the vacant block next to 98 Eighth Avenue Maylands part of which was later incorporated into the property at that address.

Here is James Need Robertson at the heart of his family, with his two daughters and one son and five grandchildren. The photograph was taken in the lounge room at 98 Eighth Avenue Maylands about 1947. That's me on Grandad's knee. The kids in this photo are now aged 70-80. Everyone else is long dead.

Perhaps I should name everyone in the photo. Back row, left to right: Gertrude (Murdoch) Robertson, wife of Norman James Robertson, Mary Linda (Mollie) Robertson, wife of David (Dave) Michael Gillard, Francis (Frank) Edward Reudavey (inserted into the print [not by me - in the original print] because he couldn't be there, no doubt because of the seasonal demands on a farmer). Adults in the middle row: Christina (Bennett) Robertson, James Need Robertson, Adie Christina (Robertson) Reudavey. Children in front: Graeme James Robertson, Cynthia (Thia) Mary (Reudavey) Wright, Garry Michael Gillard, Phillis Christina (Reudavey) Dolling, Roderick (Rod) Francis Reudavey.


Garry Gillard | New: 1 June, 2009 | Now: 23 May, 2017