Rev. William Robson (1843 – 1920) Methodist minister, accountant and politician
In 1900 Rev. William Robson was nominated to the NSW Legislative Council. He supported women’s franchise and industrial arbitration. He served on the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works. He was also a member of the State conference of the Methodist Church for many years and was treasurer of the Methodist Centenary Fund and the Foreign Mission Society.
William Robson joined the colonial architect’s office as a clerk, but left in 1885 to become secretary, manager, then liquidator for twenty years of the Town & Country Land, Building & Investment Co. Ltd. From about 1895 he practised as a public accountant and was also an estate agent.
A Protectionist, he was defeated for Petersham in 1894, but was active in (Sir) Edmund Barton’s Federation campaign. In 1900 he was nominated to the Legislative Council. He supported women’s franchise and industrial arbitration, in 1902 carried the Methodist Union Act, unamended, and opposed state aid for denominational children’s charities, fearing sectarian bitterness.
He served on the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works (1905-07 and 1911-14). As vice-president of the New South Wales Alliance for the Suppression of Intemperance (1903-12) and president of the Discharged Prisoners’ Aid Society (1912-16), he fought for reform of liquor and gambling laws.
A member of the State conference of the Methodist Church for many years, Robson was a delegate to every triennial Australasian general conference from 1884. He was treasurer of the Methodist Centenary Fund and the Foreign Mission Society, and administered the Supernumerary Ministers’ and Ministers’ Widows’ and the Bright Bequest funds. In 1903 he visited Fiji to inspect the Church’s missions there and wrote three perceptive articles on the colony for the Daily Telegraph.
He was a member of Newington College council from 1898 and worked assiduously for the establishment of Wesley College (University of Sydney) of which he was a foundation councillor (1915) and treasurer. In 1916 he donated £1000 to establish a scholarship in memory of his son Reginald (d.1907).
Wesley College : http://www.wesleycollege-usyd.edu.au
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