While readers of The Tamborine Times have been hearing plenty about the Tamborine Firies,it’s sometimes easy to forget that the Brigade’s strength is in the Team Members who give their free time to the goal of making our Mountain safe for everyone else. So I thought that it might be interesting to occasionally profile some of our Members, who come from all age groups and backgrounds. For this issue I’ve chosen John Robertson, already known to many on the Mountain for all the work that he does.
Known as Robbo to his Brigade mates,John was born in the Scottish Highlands,and comes from a farming family. While studying at St John’s College Cambridge between 1950 and 1953, he was one of the 1st Fifteen, and finally graduated with 1st class honours in Engineering and RAF Wings. In the dark days of the Cold War Robbo flew fighters such as Meteors, Vampires, Hunters and Lightnings, when their main duty was to intercept probing Russian aircraft far out over the North Sea. In Robbo’s own words,” for a young, unmarried bloke this was the best job in the world”. In the Royal Air Force Robbo achieved the rank of Wing Commander and received an OBE and Queens Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air.
On leaving the RAF Robbo became involved in both Engineering and Farming in parallel. His Engineering involvement was with aspects of North Sea Oil and he was part of the team that brought the huge Forties Field project for BP to fruition and this being arguably Britain’s most successful industrial project ever. While he was doing all this John managed to have three sons and a daughter and these days eleven grandchildren. His sons all came to Australia for a “gap” year and found that they loved the country. On retirement Robbo and Julie, his wife, retired to Sydney in 1987. After the move his main occupation was recreational flying and aerobatic air displays. He was President of Schofields Flying Club and won both the BP and Caltex Cups for aerobatic competition.
In 2000, Robbo moved to Tamborine Mountain. He joined the Southport Coastguard in 2001, is still an active Member and as if that wasn’t enough he joined the TMRFB in 2004. He’s been a member of the team fighting many fires and other incidents on and around the Mountain, being deployed to far afield parts of the State, even helping with Bundabergs flood clean up.. Robbo reckons that his ragged yellow jacket has been to 164 fires or floods and though I keep telling him to wear his new one he likes to stick with his old companion.
Robbo’s wife, his darling Julie, died last year and he is always thankful for his splendid neighbours who were so good to him. Robbo has always been and hopefully will continue to be for many more years a very valuable Member of our Brigade.