Miss Nellie E Robinson  was born in Toowoomba and educated at North State School, Glennie Memorial School and St. Hilda’s at Southport. After completing a tour of Britain in the late 1930s, Miss Robinson began a 3 year course at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.

She returned to Toowoomba before completing the course when her mother become ill, at the outbreak of World War II. Miss Robinson taught briefly at Fairholme, then became a driver with the Women’s Voluntary Auxiliary for the remainder of the War.

Next she joined radio station 4GR for a short time before moving to 2LM Lismore where she established her own women’s session on air.

Her father then persuaded her to join him in his flourishing grocery business which she carried on after his death in 1949. The business was sold in 1967 after she became very busy as mayor.

Miss Robinson was elected as alderman in 1961 and was elected Queensland’s first woman mayor in 1967. The Queen’s New Year Honours list in 1979 made her an officer of the Order of the British Empire for “distinguished service to local government”.

She was President of the committee which raised funds to build the Senior Citizens clubrooms in Victoria Street and was dedicated to the development of East Creek Park. A park on the southern side of Toowoomba is named in her honour.

Miss Robinson had a particular interest in dramatic art and cultural activities and was a trustee of the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery and was actively involved in the Toowoomba Repertory Company. Nell Robinson retired in 1981 because of ill-health.

She passed away on 19 September 1992 and is buried at the Drayton and Toowoomba Cemetery. The Robinson Collection within the Toowoomba City Library is so named because of a generous twenty thousand dollar bequest from Miss Robinson.


LH Files – LH/Robinson, Nellie Elizabeth