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Biographical entry Robinson, Brian (1941 - 2004)


3 October 1941
Ballyward, Northern Ireland
7 May 2004
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Environmental scientist and Public servant


Brian Robinson was an organic chemist who worked for the Victorian Environmental Pollution Authority (EPA) since its inception in 1975. In 1986 he was promoted to Chairman and initiated air monitoring studies around Melbourne and the Latrobe Valley. One of his biggest achievements was to put a stop to the dumping of industrial pollutants in Corio Bay. Robinson and the EPA were continually scrutinized, receiving both criticism and praise.


Brian Robinson was born in Ireland and only came to Australia in 1965 after receiving a scholarship from the University of Melbourne. As soon as he completed his PhD, Robinson and his wife moved back to the United Kingdom. He worked at the University of Liverpool as a demonstrator in organic chemistry, then after 4 years took up a position with Du Pont at its Irish headquarters. This started his interest in developing better ways of managing industrial waste. He could see the existing methods were not working and that the problem of waste was only going to get bigger. Wanting to escape the political problems Ireland was facing, Robinson and his family returned to Australia in 1973. In 1975 the Victorian EPA was established and Robinson was one of the first recruited. His role was the laboratory services co-ordinator. The Victorian EPA was the first such body in Australia and struggled for funds for most of the first 15 years, making working there difficult. Robinson was appointed chairman in 1986 and oversaw many, some controversial, projects. During his reign the EPA approved a ban on dumping industrial waste in Corio Bay and the development of many freeways, including the Burnley Tunnel. The later being one of the most criticized projects, because the EPA put the construction company in charge of monitoring exhaust emissions. One of Robinson's greatest regrets is said to be the failure of the EPA and associated industries to control and reduce diesel exhaust emissions.


Life event - Scholarship from Melbourne University received and arrived in Australia
1965 - 1968
Education - Completed a PhD in Chemistry at the University of Melbourne
1968? - 1971?
Career position - Senior Demonstrator in Organic Chemistry at the University of Liverpool. Location: England
Career position - Joined Du Pont. Location: Ireland
Life event - Migrated to Australia
1975 - 1985
Career position - Laboratory Service Co-ordinator at the Victorian EPA
1986 - 2002?
Career position - Chairman of the Victorian EPA
Career position - Retired

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Annette Alafaci