Basic Biographical Details
|Name: ||George Birrell Robertson |
|Designation: ||Architect |
|Born: ||1859 |
|Died: ||2 February 1913 |
|Bio Notes: ||George Birrell Robertson was born in Dundee in 1859 and articled to John W Buchanan of Edinburgh, 1874-78. Thereafter he moved to Bristol as assistant to another Catholic architect William Venn Gough, 1879-80. In 1880 he emigrated to New South Wales and there found employment in the offices of George Allen Mansfield (Mansfield Brothers) in Sydney, eventually becoming his managing clerk. |
He commenced independent practice in Sydney in 1892, in partnership with Theodore John Marks (1865-1941) opening an office in O’Connell Street. In the years that followed Robertson and Marks became one of the most prestigious architectural offices in New South Wales. As senior partner in the practice, Robertson was involved with the construction of some of the largest buildings in Sydney at the time, including Challis House, Martin Place (1908, now demolished) and the Commercial Travellers Club Buildings, Moore and Castlereagh Streets.
For many years he served on the council of the Institute of Architects of New South Wales, and was vice-president in 1907, 1908 and 1909. When in 1910 he was unanimously elected President of the Institute of Architects, he found it necessary to have a formal connection with the RIBA, He was admitted LRIBA on 6 June 1910, his proposers being the New South Wales Institute and Maximilian Clarke, Arthur Needham Wilson, and Andrew Noble Prentice, all of London.
Ill-health forced his retirement from active business in 1911 and he then spent a year in English and Continental resorts in an unsuccessful attempt to regain his health. Robertson died at his home in Ashfield, Sydney on Sunday 2 February 1913, aged 54, and was interred in the Presbyterian portion of Rookwood Cemetery.
On 15 August 1889 at the Australian Church, Melbourne, George B Robertson married Katie Meston. They were to have four children, Stuart, Ossian, Kelvin, and Theodore.
The RIBA Directory also notes his employment as assistant by an as yet unidentified John Lowrie in 1880. It is unclear whether this was before or after his departure to Australia.
Private and Business Addresses
|The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:|
| ||Address||Type||Date from||Date to||Notes|
|Bristol, Somerset, England(?)||Private/business||1879||1880|| |
|Sydney, Australia||Private/business||After 1880|| || |
|O'Connell Street, Sydney, Australia||Business||1892|| ||Robertson and Marks office|
|Warrawee, Charlotte Street, Ashfield, Sydney, Australia||Private||1910||1913||Also given as Warrawu|
Employment and Training
|The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):|
| ||Name||Date proposed||Notes|
|Max Clarke||6 June 1910||for Licentiateship|
|Andrew Noble Prentice||6 June 1910||for Licentiateship|
|Arthur Needham Wilson||6 June 1910||for Licentiateship|
|The following books contain references to this architect:|
|British Architectural Library, RIBA||2001||Directory of British Architects 1834-1914|| || || |
|The following periodicals contain references to this architect:|
| ||Periodical Name||Date||Edition||Publisher||Notes|
|Building News||25 April 1913|| || ||p590 - obituary|
|Sydney Morning Herald||3 February 1913|| || ||p10 - obituary|
|Sydney Morning Herald||4 February 1913|| || ||p8 - funeral|