George Andrew Robley was born in August 1890, the second of the only two surviving children of John George and Isabella Robley.Victor, John Thomas, Lyall Charles, Isobel and Gladstone Gosford had died within a year of their birth.
Taken around 1902. George is 2nd from the right, front row. He was 12. Probably taken at Wyong Public School.
George Andrew qualified to study to be a school teacher but opted instead to become a farmer.
When he grew up he bought a small farm of his own in Mac Pherson's Estate near Wyong and worked the property for the rest of his life.
In July 1912 he married Doris Tucker in Newtown. The couple first met while she was serving in a fruit shop owned by her sister. Prior to her marriage she lived in Balgownie near Woolongong where she was born in June 1889.
Balgownie has a similar history to many towns on the NSW south coast. When first settled in the 19th century, Balgownie was the centre of local logging, coal mining and farming.
Not much is known of George Andrew during his farming days but a little light is shed on him in the poem by Bert Shackelton, "Cattle Bells" published in 1976.
Located 4km south-west of Wyong, Mardi Dam was built in 1962 and can hold up to 7,400 million litres of water. Mardi Dam is an earth fill dam and is an offstream storage meaning it is not fed directly by a stream and must be filled by pumping water from Wyong River and Ourimbah Creek. Water is pumped to Mardi Treatment Plant before being distributed to Wyong residents.
Mardi Dam was opened eleven years after George Andrew died, but it seems it was constructed on or very near his property .
There is a jewel in the hills
That shines where sunlight caught her
That margin of the vale she fills
With leagues and leagues of water
Where man made forces rally
To blast and gouge and ram
They walled a fertile valley
to make the Mardi dam.
'Twas here we hunted dingoes
That pestered Robley's farm
Old Robley hated dingoes
Though they didn't do much harm
We hounded them though oddly
As they dodged among the logs
I thought they liked George Robley
For they paired up with his dogs.
There is another later reference in the poem to Old Robley making the wine for a wedding. So Old George Robley had a very fertile and attractive property, with the sound of the dingoes running among the logs and he was something of a well known member of the local community.
George died in January 1951 in Wyong and Doris in Sydney in November 1967.
Written by John Robley, from the research of Eileen S. Young. Photographs from Ancestry.