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Biographical entry Robertson, James Robert Millar (1844 - 1932)

11 February 1844
Renfrew, Scotland
11 April 1932
Kirribilli, New South Wales, Australia
Mining engineer


James Robert M. Robertson arrived in Australia in 1880 and spent the next fifty years closely involved in the New South Wales coal industry and as geological consultant to mining operations elsewhere in Australia. He was also President of several royal commissions into accidents, including those at Lithgow, Tighe's Hill and Delta collieries, into the conditions of the Ferndale pit (1886) and into the Bulli colliery explosion (1887). By 1896 he was managing director of the Caledonian Coal Co. and director of the Mount Kembla Coal and Oil Co., the North Coast Steam Navigation Co. and other colliery and shipping firms. Prior to arriving in Australia Robertson assisted in the management of his father's collieries and worked briefly as a medical officer to the 1st Battalion, 42nd Infantry Regiment (Black Watch) in India and Burma.



Education - Doctor of Medicine (MD) and Master of Surgery (ChM) completed at the University of Glasgow
c. 1870 - c. 1871
Career position - Engineer at Tharsis Co. (mining engineers) in Spain
1872 - 1880
Career position - Consultant to British mining companies in Borneo, the Malay States, India and Burma
Life event - Migrated to Australia (Sydney)
Career position - President of the Royal Commission into the conditions of the Ferndale pit
Career position - President of the Royal Commission into the Bulli colliery explosion
c. 1896 -
Career position - Managing Director of the Caledonian Coal Co.

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions

Book Sections

  • Schmitz, Christopher, 'Robertson, James Robert Millar (1844-1932), Mining Engineer and Coal-Owner', in Geoffrey Serle (ed.), Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 11, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1988, pp. 416-417. Also available at Details

Journal Articles

  • Robertson, James R.M., 'The Occurrence of Opals in Central Australia and Queensland', The Chemical News and Journal of Physical Science, vol. 45, 1882, pp. 95-7, 101-104. Details

Online Resources

Rosanne Walker