Robinson and Others – the puzzle solved!! All faces have a name!


In August, picked Horace & George and a guess of John and Dick (L) of George was correct.

The woman right of John is Mrs Gunter and behind her is Mr Gunter. In front of Horace is Ada Cummings with Louie Holt in the white dress, the girl behind her (no hat) is Tot (Elizabeth) Bowman, behind Tot is Charlie Holt, Walter Holt, and Dolly Holt  white dress & hat. Robert ‘Bob’ Smith, Dan’s friend is in the middle the two men right at the back are Tasman Holt with Charlie Dyson out on the right. Tuck Holt/Robinson holding the billy & son Ronnie (4) on his lap, his wife Lizzie with son Eric (6). The Lady Barron School Picnic: 1916.

We blew into Flinders a few days ago and by this mean, arrived in a howling gale –  FI style of course! The flight a lot smoother than anticipated. These days the Metro is a short 25 minutes. The previous planes took almost 1 hour. I’ve had my fair share of rough trips, 25 minutes a breeze, sort of!

Yesterday in the Bowman history room found this photo of Robinson and others taken in 1916 by Dan Bowman… George & Horace correct! – today will take notes to name all. Dan was a fantastic at keeping records.

Do you recognise a family member in this photo?? if you do, please pass on with a comment.

Another photo from the last year – named Robinson and others…..

Robinson and others at a picnicI think (Back row) is Grandfather Horace then maybe George on his left (dark suits), maybe Dick on the left of whom I think is George and ? John on Dick’s left right at the front.

If George is in the picture then it is pre 1916.

The woman right in the front looks familiar as do some of the others !!!

Love to hear others ideas and thoughts.

This photo below is from Fred Collis’s album.


George and Billy Holt

Today the 26 October I thought I would do something a little different. Last year was done thinking it may be of interest to a few – just maybe. The past 6 months have been surreal as the descendants of our old families reconnect. The modern names, never before heard – older names somewhat vague, some with more information, others with photo’s – all waiting to be connected!! These connections… stunning – familiarities here and there, coincidence’s everywhere, pieces of the puzzle starting to make sense! So back to… George Holt and his first cousin Harold Holt both answered the call and joined the AIF and in doing so, take their place in our family history. Harold’s Grandson tells of another important family story that happened in WW2 WW2 William (Billy) Holt and his first cousin Patrick Holt answer the call in joining the army in WW2. They were in the same unit, unfortunately they were captured and became POW’s, toward the end of the war they were split up and Billy perished on the POW ship when destroyed in the South West Pacific. Both George and Billy were known as Holt’s at home on Flinders – that was their surname!! Billy was about 7 when George joined in 1916. What’s interesting is on joining they both had to use their birth names – George as Robinson and Billy as Garrett. How strange it must have been to have always been known as Holt and then on official work be called another… Bless you both!


ANZAC day at dawn, a great great grandson proudly speaking of his great great grandfathers bravery at Gallipoli, a powerful tribute about ‘normal people doing abnormal things under extreme conditions’

Our George – without children, grandchildren and great grandchildren!

George has a large family of nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews…………custodians of his story in our Robinson/Holt history.

‘Far from the land of the island, the place that gave him birth. Somewhere in Belgium he is lying. He answered his country’s call: He died an Australian hero, Fighting to save us all’

James Willett

April 20 Insert 4

James Willett – son of James and Fanny Willett or ‘Aunt Fan’ Emily’s older sister.

The Willett surname was not familiar on first reading ‘Mapping our Anzacs’…. ANZAC day 2011, of course I recognised all the familiar Island names. Last week when I re checked the list…. suitably surprised when I realised the name James Willett, now a name connected to our family history.  ‘Aunt Fan’ was a beautiful discovery entwined in Great Aunt Edie’s history just a few months ago, captivating and intriguing, twists and turns….. gazing back over our history. Reading James file I could see he signed up a few months before my Grandfather and George.   I decided to visit the library ‘again’ to cast my eye over the Weekly Courier, indexed by Wendy Knowles, as I suspected Fanny probably placed James picture in the paper. I had a quiet bet with myself…… because George’s picture was in the paper – highly probable James would be as well, based on how close Emily and Fanny were. Initially looking over the index, couldn’t see his name, when about to give up saw “Willitt’ as per the AWM indexes.

Once home –  exciting to find James in the Weekly Courier. go to 1916 – April 20 – insert 4. Here was ‘Aunt Fan’s  handsome son, occupation,  stone mason. I wonder if he had anything to do with his parents beautiful headstone, also Uncle, James Robinson, as they are quite similar.

Dad wasn’t really up with James going to war, he knew about Harold J Holt but not James – actually he did say ‘Jimmy Willett’, would love to hear more from his family. His mother Fan plays a very special part in the Robinson family history. Dad did say that his parents were best friends with the Willett’s and they used to visit them when over here in Launceston – they were his cousins and remembers the house was on a hill, maybe the top end of Brisbane St near the Gorge.

27 October 2013 – In loving memory of George Collis Robinson

scan0067At 5.30am this day 96 years ago – George Collis Robinson passes away in the 2nd Canadian Clearing Station, Belgium he is 21 years of age, a lad from Badger Corner, Flinders Island, Tasmania.

George is buried in the Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery near where he died a few kilometres from Poperinge. George is my Great Uncle, the youngest brother of my Grandfather Horace.

Emily, James and family devastated and the impact on their health is obvious in Em’s letters to the AIF and again 1922 after the death of beloved Edie.

Emily and James notice of thanks in the Examiner December 1917………Holt not Robinson as no one would have known who George Robinson was, as only used for official documents.

1918 – Memorial notices first anniversary of George’s death…..again Holt.

Mary Holt (Nee Ackerman) – wife of George’s uncle Johnny memorial notice.

We are planning a family memorial service at Georges grave on the 100th anniversary of his death, and invite all members of the Robinson, Holt clan to join us. The idea started ANZAC day 2011 after reading the circumstances in which George was injured and the full extent of his injuries and his bravery – we decided we would plan this trip to remember George on behalf of Grandfather Horace, his parents and siblings. This will be our way of keeping his memory alive.

The Australian War Graves Commission has granted permission for this to happen on 27 October. Four years seems a long way off – however gives plenty of time to save up. To contact me you can leave a comment which will be private in the first instance and not published if requested.IMG_5426 IMG_5425







26 October 1917

George was critically injured on the morning of 26 October  –  this day 96 years ago.

Reading the unit diary – there is mention of Pte Downing W who was killed. George and  Private Dicken noted as injured and evacuated, the diary is brief, the appendix, doesn’t offer any further explanation.

Reading George’s Red Cross file  ANZAC day 2011 was emotional to say the least, all we have ever known as far as family history goes is ‘George died from wounds’, reading the extent of his wounds and how he lay all day  in such perilous conditions was the start of  our plan to travel to George’s graveside in 2017. As Horace’s family, the decision was easy, to do what George’s family were unable in 1917.

George injured when a pill-box exploded, his injuries were compound fracture to both legs and his left arm including a head injuries, he was not rescued until later that evening under cover of darkness. He was transferred to the 2nd Canadian Clearing Station in the early hours Saturday 27th where he died at 5.30am. The one comfort in reading – he didn’t die alone in the  field.

Dan Bowman was close by as noted in one of the Red Cross letters, I should imagine he had a difficult time returning home without his sister Tot’s sweetheart, and his mate.

Private Nagle 5071 gives account as he was close by.

July 1916: Answering the call.

Horace 1894 and George 1896  Emily and James’ youngest children, possibly born on Long Island under the care of Mrs Burgess as elder sister Dolly was born there.

August 1914 the start of WWI, a few months earlier Horace was George were celebrating St Barnabas Day.

20 May 1915 – Jimmy Holt’s nephew Harold John Holt 22, son of William, joins the AIF, a Gunner 14th Field Artillery Brigade and honourably discharged 10/11/1919, reading Harold’s file tells us he spent time in Gallipoli, Lemnos, Dardanelles………..amazing!!! Harold John Holt

5 January 1916 – Emily Holt’s nephew James Willett 22 son of James and Fanny joins the AIF – having only recently discovered the Willett’s and the connection to the Collis and Robinson family when linking to mapping our ANZAC did James Willett click. I recall reading the list in 2011, recognising other old Island names, Willett didn’t mean anything at the time, it sure does now. April 20 Insert 4

21 July 1916 –  Horace 22 and George almost 20 sign up to join the Australian Imperial Force  in the footsteps of other lads from Flinders and Cape Barren Island.

With them is close family friend Daniel Thomas Bowman – Dan’s sister Tot, and George were sweethearts. scan0069

Emily and James handsome sons!! IMG_5578 These photo’s taken in Launceston by Burrows and Co. This photo of George is from the family collection but you can also see it in the in the Weekly Courier 1917  link 25 April 2011 the day I was introduced to the Mapping our ANZAC website (courtesy of my son in-law Chris his ANZAC day address at the end) and so inspired this history journey. Firstly I noticed – Horace and George’s physical characteristics on enlistment were same, I read to Dad, George was the same height as his father 5 feet 10 inches, Horace was 10 pounds heavier, his chest measurement slightly larger, both had fair complexion, blue eyes and sandy hair,  Dad said  ‘Dad and my Uncles always said George was the tallest in the family, he was 6 ft tall’,  for a brief minute I wished I hadn’t mentioned. I didn’t want to be responsible challenging family history about this……… then if I hadn’t we wouldn’t have known this particular story. I finally concluded after a little reflection, this was exactly the sort of history we needed to know, guiding us to understand how the Robinson family revered George, the baby of the family, their hero. Hopefully Dad still believes his Father and Uncles were correct, somehow the medico misread the measurements, and that suits me too!! 14 August 1916 – Horace was discharged on the grounds of being medically unfit. He would have returned home to his family after an emotional farewell with his baby brother, and so begins our George’s journey!