28 October 2018
In spring, we performed in the Southern Highlands village of Robertson, famous for its fogs, potatoes and cheese. The last time the SBO performed here was in 2007, eleven years ago. We arrived at the School of Arts Hall, a charming building that was improved in the thirties, but dates back to the late nineteenth century.
Fortunately the fog for which ‘Robbo’ is famous held off. Unfortunately so did the audience, which was not enormous – but then neither was the orchestra full-strength. And that was just as well. If the full orchestra had been able to come, we would never have fitted everyone onto the School of Arts’ tiny stage!
Fortunately the audience was bigger than the orchestra (just), which made for an intimate concert with some very appreciative responses. ‘We absolutely loved the music and would love to come again. Not only was the orchestra fantastic but the singer was outstanding,’ wrote Anabel Parbury.
‘I just wanted to let you know how much my friends and I enjoyed the orchestra,’ said Robin White. ‘It was an uplifting and unusual experience and I was most impressed with the enthusiasm and camaraderie,’ she said.
What a lot of people didn’t know, was that the person after whom the ‘Robbo’ was named had a Russian connection. The village was named after a feisty politician, Sir John Robertson, who was Premier of NSW, 1868–1870.
Sir John became father-in-law to the internationally renowned Russian scientist and naturalist, Nicholas Miklouho-Maclay , who married Robertson’s daughter, Margaret Emma. She went back with him to Russia. Sir John Robertson never forgave Miklouho-Maclay for taking his daughter away.