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Edward Robinson arrived in Fremantle on the Success with his mother and siblings (including his brother William) in 1843, his father (William) dying during the voyage. After his mother re-married with John Seabrook (Snr), the family moved to Brookton. Robinson worked as a shepherd before later entering into a partnership with his brother in which they established the property ‘Croydon’, near Roebourne, in 1874. In 1886, Robinson sold his share and purchased 750 acres in the Helena Valley (formally part of James Stirling’s Woodbridge grant).
The Helena Valley property, which he called Belle View, was developed into a dairy with an 1887 residence including attached service areas (kitchen, servant’s quarters etc.), various outbuildings and stables. After the death of Robinson’s wife in 1909, the property was leased before later being sold by his nephew after his death in 1913.
ROBINSON, Edward, b. 1839/1840, d. 31.1.1913 (Bellevue), son of William & Margaret Mary, arr. 22.3.1843 per Success, his father died on voyage, m. 15.3.1877 (Mourambine) Sophia Pennel BADCOCK (widow, nee Wells) b. 4.10.1835 d. 23.4.1909, dtr. of Richard & Susannah. He worked as a shepherd in 1840s. Listed in York 1859 Census as a labourer employed by J. Seabrook. He went with Lefroy on exploration East of York 1863, and with Lukin in 1874. Farmer at Brookton "Sunning Hill" of 2,000ac. This property was inherited by his nephew William Edward Robinson. To Roebourne at "Croyden" & "Lampwell", sold in 1885 to buy land at Bellevue. MLC North Prov. 7.1894-7.1896. Employed 9 T/L men on occasions 1864-1878. Lit. Prot. (Erickson)
In 2019, senior Fremantle sculptor Greg James was working on a life-size statue of Edward Robinson, to be placed near the restored Belle View stable and farmhouse.
Robinson's figure will be facing north, towards the entrance to the property and also the former school and church for which he gave the land.
I suggested to Greg, however, that he should be facing south, looking over his former farm — wetlands which will be replanted with native vegetation.
In September 2021, the statue was temporarily outside Greg's studio in his sculpture garden, where I took this snap. The lighting could have been better. >
William Albert Robinson [brother of the above Edward] ... came from England to Western Australia with his parents, his father’s decease occurring during the course of the voyage. The late W. A. Robinson in subsequent years became one of the earliest of the farming and pastoral pioneers of this State, having taken up the present “Sunning Hill” [Brookton] property considerably over half a century ago. He made a successful venture in securing pastoral interests in the great northwest, then comparatively little known, where he laid the foundation of the properties now held by some of his sons in the Roebourne district. His demise took place at York in the early years of the present century, just before he reached the allotted span of threescore years and ten. Battye vol. 2: 658, with photo.
ROBINSON, William Albert, b. 1831/3 (Eng) , d. 7.4. 1900 (York), son of William & Margaret Mary, arr. 22.3.1840 per Success with mother, father died on voyage out, m. (York Wesleyan) 17.5.1856 Charlotte SEABROOK b. 1838 (Eng) d. 26.1.1926. dtr. of John. she arr. 1840 per Chieftain. Chd. William Edward b. 1858 d. 1950, Charlotte Mary b. 1859 d. 1861. Arthur Albert b.1861. Clara b. 1863 d. 1906, John Frederick Geary b. 1865 d. 1947, Percival Ford b. 1866 d. 1943, George Alfred b. 1868, Eva b. 1869, Mabel Jane Maude b. 1880 (York Wesleyan). Listed in York 1859 Census as a well established farmer. He bad 2 employees at Brookton & 1,000 acres at "Sunning Hill". Employed 27 T/L men at "Sunning Hill", "Spring Hill", "Bally Bally" & "Winarling". He also held pastoral interests in Roebourne district. Lit. Wesleyan. (Erickson)
William Edward Robinson, of “Sunning Hill,” Brookton, was born at Corbading, in the vicinity of Brookton, on March 1, 1858, and is a son of the late William Albert Robinson. ... [He] was educated at a private school at Brookton, concluding his studies before entering his teens in order to take over the shepherding of his father’s flock, which employment he followed for the subsequent five years. He was next engaged for a period in the sandalwood industry, and upon attaining the age of seventeen years proceeded to the north-west, where he filled a position on a station property owned by his uncle, the late Edward Robinson, in conjunction with the late John Seabrook. During the half-decade that he spent on this station he gained an intimate and very useful acquaintance with all the details of the wool industry and the general management of stock which stood him in good stead in his next enterprise, which was the founding, in partnership with his father, of the “Mount Florence” Station, a well-known pastoral property which has since passed out of the hands of the Robinson family, but which was developed and worked by father and son for upwards of twenty-one years. Owing to a serious setback occasioned by the big drought of the early nineties, Mr. Robinson about that time left the north-west, and coming to the great southern district rented his present holding for some years. In 1901 he took up a selection of 2,000 acres, situated near Pingelly, which, after he had conducted it for eleven years, he sold and returned to “Sunning Hill,” which he again took over on lease, but shortly afterwards, upon the death of his uncle, the late Edward Robinson, in 1913, found himself the heir to the property. “Sunning Hill” is an estate of over 2,000 acres, of which about 500 to 600 acres have been cleared and cropped, while the entire area is ringbarked, fenced, and subdivided with good six-wire sheep-proof fences. The homestead is an old-fashioned most comfortable building, and commodious outhouses have been erected. Mr. Robinson has interested himself in the public life of the district, and for three years filled the position of chairman of the Mourambine Roads Board, of which he has been a member for a lengthy period. He is associated with the Pingelly Agricultural Society, and has served for many years as a committeeman of that body. His name may be found on the roll of almost every organization having for its object the welfare of the community among which he resides. He occupies the office of people’s warden and vestryman in the local Church of England, and is a hearty advocate of all forms of manly recreation. Mr. Robinson married in 1884 Mary Frances, daughter of the late Edward Read Parker, of “Dangin,” and has four sons and four daughters. Battye vol. 2: 658, with photo.
ROBINSON, William Edward, b. 1.3.1858 (Brookton), d. 7.2.1950 (Perth). son of William Albert & Charlotte (nee Seabrook). m. 20.2.1884 Mary Frances PARKER b. 6.6.1861 (Dangin) d. 30.7.1925 (Brookton), dtr. of Edward Read & Mary Irwin Henrietta (nee Wells). Chd. Edward Foley b. 1885, Amy Clara b. 1887, Vivian Albert b. 1888, Ellen May b. 1890, Stanley Fortescue b. 1892, Evelyn Dorothea b. 1893, Laura Charlotte b. 1895. Irwin b. 1900. Roebourne pearler 1880 & founder of Mt. Florence Station with his father. Took up 2000 acres at Pinge!ly in 1901 & inherited "Sunning Bill" Brooktoon in 1913. Chairman Mourambyne Road Board. Member Pingelly Agric. Soc. Educ. privately Brookton. C/E. (Erickson)
Warren Duffy (in Facebook):
I am blown away by the fully restored heritage house (Belle View Homestead), barn and stables. I've admired the buildings for years and it's wonderful to see them given some attention.
The house was constructed in 1887 on 750 acres of land owned by Edward Robinson and formed part of the Belle View Farm. It was made from locally produced clay bricks and featured a servants quarters, kitchen, baker's oven and a smoke room for curing meats which was attached to the rear of the house.
Following the death of Edward Robinson in 1913, the farm was purchased in 1921 by Elder Smith. Elder Smith’s resident stockman, Jack Goodchild occupied and managed the property until his death in 1959.
During the 1980s, Elders sold the Belle View property and the property went through a number of ownership changes while the house was leased out.
The house, barn and stables were placed on the State Heritage Register in 1998. They fell into major disrepair over the next 20 years before the development company behind Robinson Grove committed to fully restore all the buildings.
The house, barn and stables have now been fully restored. The house will be used as the sales office for residential development while the barn and stables will become part of a large public open space to enjoy.
Look up Robinson Grove, Bellevue, it's been done so well.
Thanks to Matthew Pavlinovich of Midland and Districts Historical Society Inc. for the history.
Battye, J.S. 1912-13, The Cyclopedia of Western Australia, Cyclopedia Co., Perth.
Erickson, Rica [et al.] 1987 [et al.], Bicentennial Dictionary of Western Australians, UWAP.
Heritage Council page for Belle View.
Shire of Mundaring heritage impact statement for the farmhouse and area.
Top photo of ER courtesy of Greg James, courtesy of a Robinson descendant (I think).
Garry Gillard | New: 11 June, 2019 | Now: 1 September, 2023