The son of
James Robertson and Helen née Brown, Robertson was born in 1843 at
Bath, Somerset, England where he obtained his M.R.C.S., (England) in 1868;
the following year he migrated to Victoria and registered with the Medical
Board of Victoria as a medical practitioner. In 1871 he married
Fyansford-born Joanna née Norton (1849-1903), daughter of Charles
Norton and Susan née Meade and they resided at St. Kilda (“a pioneer
in the medical profession in St. Kilda”) where their nine children were all
born; Harold (1879-1910; Brighton Cemetery), Robert (1872-1901;
corporal 5th V.M.R killed in action Boer War), Helen (b 1873), William (b
1875), Mary (Robbie) (q.v.) (1877-1967; nurse graduate Alfred
Hospital, 1906), Ada (Aida) (b 1881), twins Gwendoline and Gertrude (b 1884)
and Nina (1886-1913; Brighton Cemetery). Residing at Meremar
- Queen Square, Sandringham, where he was the first resident practitioner,
Robertson died on 25 January 1910 and was buried two days later with his
wife. The available information is scare on Robertson; he was believed to
have been a lieut-colonel with the Victorian Medical Staff (retired), city
coroner and also surg-colonel with the Royal Ambulance Society (1883).
In 1871, Robertson was
appointed first surgeon to Outpatients at the Alfred Hospital, and later
surgeon to Inpatients (1874) only to resign 1877 amid a public outcry after
the death of a patient with advanced cancer whom Robertson had operated on
in September the previous year; a routine post mortem later found that a
pair of bulldog forceps and sponge in the patient. Though a subsequent
coronial inquiry absolved Robertson of directly causing the patient’s death,
it was found that a bitter feud in the operating theatre exacerbated
Robertson’s lack of concentration.
The Argus 26 & 27 January 1910.
Brighton Southern Cross 5 February 1910.
The Herald 3 November 1876.
Research undertaken by Beth Le Page and Susan
Information supplied from Geoffrey Down
(Royal Australasian College of Surgeons) from Mitchell, A., “The Hospital
south of the Yarra”.
[ Previous ]