Main Births etc

New South Wales, Australia

Memorial to Railway Workers.

Robertson is located in New South Wales
Population: 1206 (2006 Census)[1]
Postcode: 2577
Elevation: 731 m (2,398 ft)
LGA: Wingecarribee Shire
Region: Southern Highlands
State District: Kiama
Federal Division: Throsby
Localities around Robertson:
Kangaloon East Kangaloon Mount Murray
Burrawang Robertson Macquarie Pass
Wildes Meadow Upper Kangaroo Valley Pheasant Ground

Robertson is a small town in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, in Wingecarribee Shire. The town is located on the edge of an elevated plateau (the Illawarra escarpment) about 35 km from the coast. At the 2006 census, Robertson had a population of 1206 people.[1]

Robertson is known for its high annual rainfall and fertile soil. It was previously covered by an extensive temperate rainforest, most of which has been cleared for farming though remnants such as Robertson Nature Reserve still exist today. The town is colloquially known as Robbo.

The town was once famous for cheese production. Today, the remnants of the industry are seen with one of the old cheese factories remaining in town that has been converted into a commercial row of shops.

Robertson is now more widely known for potato growing and is the home of the "Big Potato".

Robertson is also where the 1995 movie Babe was filmed.

Robertson is named after former Premier of New South Wales Sir John Robertson, whose 1861 Land Act cleared the way for the establishment of the town[2]. Before then it was called Yarrawa Bush.


Aerial photo with street names.


The Big Potato

In February or March of each year the Robertson Show is held, featuring the "The Great Australian Potato Race".

In Spring Robertson holds a spring festival, with local gardens open to the public.


Fountaindale Grand Manor

Robertson is home to the famous hotel "Fountaindale Grand Manor" a popular hotel, wedding and conference centre.

Fountaindale Grand Manor was originally built in 1924 and opened as Hotel Robertson, has had an interesting history. The Hotel boasted a nine hole golf course, two tennis courts, croquet, lawn bowls, billiards, fishing, hunting, horseback riding, and an onsite mechanic who looked after guest’s cars during their stay. The hotel won the “Most luxurious hotel in the Commonwealth” award in 1925, and was the first hotel in Australia to have phone lines to every room.

The Hotel was built to draw some of the Sydneysiders, who in the past retreated to the cool climate of the Southern Highlands to escape the heat of a Sydney summer and enjoy the beauty of the countryside. The Hotel was a success and the developer went on to subdivide and develop the local area. This unfortunately was not a success.

In 1930 the hotel was sold and marketed as an exclusive country club and renamed Ranelagh Country Club after Ranelagh Gardens in London. However, the Great Depression made those plans short lived.

In the build up to World War II the hotel became a WRAAF base, serving as a signals base and a training area for budding pilots. After World War II, the hotel was used as a hospice for returned pilots. The building sold again in 1947 and became, St Anthony's College, a Franciscan friary and seminary, during this period the hotel was also used as a school and accommodation house run by the monks. It was during this period that the beautiful stained glass windows, rock walls and fountains were built. These are still in the building and around the gardens and grounds.

The Hotel has its own railway platform on the Moss ValeUnanderra line, which is still used today.

In 1972 the Monks moved to smaller premises in Campbelltown and the building returned to its intended use as a hotel, named Ranelagh House.

The Hotel was sold again in late 2007, and was renamed Fountaindale Grand Manor and Ranelagh Gardens, the hotel is undergoing major renovations and refurbishments.[3]

Illawarra Fly

In 15 March 2008, the Illawarra Fly Tree Top Walk opened to the public. It is similar to the Otway Fly, in Victoria. It is perched on the Illawarra escarpment at Knights Hill, located east of Robertson. The tree top walk is joined up with an observation outdoor tower that will allow visitors to see spectacular views of Wollongong. It is expected at approximately 200,000 visitors every year[4].

The Big Potato

Built in 1977 by local potato grower Jim Mauger, the Big Potato adorns the main street at the eastern end of town. It was modelled on the Sebago potato and is approx ten metres long and four metres wide. The original idea for this structure to contain a Potato Information Centre but due to rising costs this dream was never realised. Recently the locals of Robertson have worked together to turn the surrounding land into a park to be enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.

On 6 March 2010 a group of young people adorned the potato with a very large face, to help brighten up the tourist attraction for the local agricultural show. It was built in secret during the weeks leading up to the show and even the owners of the potato and the surrounding land had no idea that it was going to happen. Sadly this work of guerrilla art was torn down and damaged on its first night and despite requests to rehang the face the artists considered the damage to be too significant to rehang it, but have not ruled out repairing it and putting it back up for a future special occasion.

The pranksters posing with the Big Potato Face


Aerial photo from north west

Robertson is served by a railway station on the Unanderra Moss Vale railway line. The railway line is mainly used for freight. Occasionally, a tourist train travels from Sydney to Moss Vale and return (via Wollongong), but is not used in passenger service.

CountryLink buses travel along the Illawarra Highway, three times a day that have replaced passenger trains, linking the Southern Highlands to Wollongong. The Illawarra Highway winds down the escarpment via the notorious Macquarie Pass. Robertson would be a major beneficiary of a major upgrade or replacement to Macquarie Pass. Despite most Illawarra and Highland residents strongly supporting a major improvement to the link between Robertson and Albion Park, no government has shown any interest in such a project.

Notable residents[]

  • Nathan Hindmarsh: Parramatta Eels NRL player who grew up in the town. Born in Bowral.
  • Ian Hindmarsh: brother of Nathan and retired NRL player. Born in Bowral.
  • Noeline Brown: Australian entertainer.
  • Bob Dwyer: former Australian Wallabies rugby union coach
  • Brett Lee: Australian cricketer, owns property near town
  • Miriam Margoyles: British-born actress
  • Ben Quilty: award-winning artist
  • Carlos Barrios: Australian El Salvadoran artist

External links[]

Coordinates: 34°35′S 150°35′E / -34.583, 150.583

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Robertson, New South Wales. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.