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Nicoll Cup presented to JT Robinson 1911-12 by the Sydney Flying Squadron

Date: 1911-1912
Overall: 290 x 235 x 120 mm, 810 g
Medium: Sheffield plate
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Judy Gifford
Object Name: Trophy
Object No: 00047719

User Terms

    This trophy was presented to John Thomas Robinson Snr (1855-1946) owner/skipper of the 18 ft skiff LIVONIA by CB Nicoll, Vice President of the Sydney Flying Squadron, for winning the 1911-1912 season. LIVONIA was built by by his son John Thomas Robinson Jnr in Balmain.
    SignificanceFor the Robinsons open boat racing was a family tradition. This trophy represents two generations involvement in building and racing 18-ft skiffs in Sydney. John Thomas Snr owned LIVONIA which was built in Balmain by his son John Thomas Jnr. Another of John Thomas Snr's sons George, known as 'Wee Georgie' built and sailed the champion 18-ft skiff BRITANNIA, is now in the National Maritime Collection.
    HistoryThe Robinson family was prominent in skiff racing and boat building in Sydney from the early 1900s.

    John Robinson (1826-1908) father of John Thomas Robinson Snr (1855-1946) arrived in Sydney from Northern Ireland on board the PETREL in 1849 with his wife Sarah (nee Walmsley) and infant daughter. The family settled by the Hawkesbury River near Windsor and grew corn, lucerne, vegetables and fruit trees.

    In the early 1870s farm was sold and the family now with seven children moved to John St Pyrmont, an inner suburb of Sydney, where the teenage sons were apprenticed in trades. In their spare time they built and sailed skiffs in Pyrmont Bay. John Thomas Snr worked at Brown & Brown Steel Iron Works, Pyrmont. He and his brothers Bill and Bob rented boat sheds between the CSR sugar refinery sheds and Brown & Brown Steel Iron Works near Glebe Island Bridge (now ANZAC Bridge) in Pyrmont. Although all the brothers sailed, Bob, Bill and George sailed together and John Thomas Snr sailed with his other brother Charlie in the 22 and 24 ft classes.

    CSR bought land behind the Robinson family home in Pyrmont blocking The family moved to a water frontage at Aldolphus St, Balmain with room for a boatshed after their direct access from their Pyrmont home to the water front was blocked by CSR Refinery's purchase of land.

    When Brown & Brown closed in the early 1900s John Thomas Snr went on to work at Cockatoo Island until he retired. After the death of his wife Jane in 1904 John Thomas Snr continued to sail 22 footers, the last being VIGILANT. The family moved from Adolphius St to Johnstone St East Balmain where John Thomas Snr and his son John Thomas Jnr built a boat shed. Here John Thomas Jnr built three 18-fters YOUNG JACK, ZANITA and LIVONIA . This encouraged his father to resume sailing after a break of several years, this time in 18-fters. George and Harold Skiller joined the crew of LIVONIA. George Skiller married John Thomas Snr's daughter Elsie Robinson in 1912.

    In his later life John Thomas Snr bought six blocks of land at Brooklyn on the Hawkesbury where he built a house. He started a boat hire business and married his former housekeeper Lil Brown.
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