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Orphan Number: 4700
Orphan: William ROBINSON
Mother:DWYER, Mary
Father:ROBINSON, Samuel
Mother's ship:D Northumberland
Father's ship:
Age when admitted:2yrs 6mths
Date admitted:13 Jan 1859
Date discharged:6 Feb 1860
Institution(s):Queens Orphan School
Discharged to: parents, now free
References: SWD28

This orphan has been claimed by: Deb Robinson

Williams story is similar to that of his younger brother John. William was only five when he found himself tasked in taking care after little John in January 1859 when their mother was forced to take them to Hobart to have them taken care of until she was able to return and collect them a year later. The separation from his mother the ultimate test of courage, trust and love for two little boys. 

William was known by his neices and nephews as uncle Billy, locally in the Straits he was William or Billy Holt. William at the end of his life when death was imminent was taken by his family at his request to Little Dog, his last birding season, he died on Little Dog surrounded by family and memories in a place he loved, a long way and time from the little boy in the orphanage.

Bass Strait was his home from the mid 1860's and Little Dog the legacy from stepfather John Holt. Family history portrays John Holt as a good man who cared for his family. William and brothers James and John owned and worked Little Dog all their adult life, hard work that supported their families. William and his wife Ellen were highly respected throughout the Straits. Benevolence a trait of these brothers and William through history is documented as helping others out in tough times, such as Canon Brownrigg who probably owed his life to William (Holt) and his brother in law John Smith. Bishop Montgomery in the Syren owed by William. The Victorian Naturalists expedition 1893.

William and John had an older brother named James and no one knows the circumstances of how he became their brother as he was born in Hobart about 1851, before the arrival of Mary Dwyer and Samuel Robinson to the colony. The three were brothers in every sense of the word and best friends.

During the month of January 1859 when William and John found themselves left in the care of the institution there were 14 other children also in the same position. In particular 9 children of 4 families around the same age and with their sad stories as well were of interest. James 12, Henry 7 and William 5 Priest / Saunders. James 8 and Eliza 5 Glynn. William 12 Richard 7 and Honora 4 Rhodes. James Cunningham

James Glynn's mother worked at the orphange, was this fortuitous for the boys? The boys would have been there when the Rhodes children learnt their little sister died of whooping cough another tragic event on top of their mothers death and the reason they were orphaned. What tough little characters they were, to not get ill and die while in the institution where so many did. A testament no doubt to the men they were yet become..............

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 Site last updated June 2021