Thomas B. Robinson

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Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Thomas Bilbe Robinson GBE KCMG (24 November 185315 May 1939) was an English-born Australian businessman and public servant.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

Australia Country in Oceania

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

Robinson was born in Rotherhithe, London, the son and grandson of shipbuilders. His father was Robert William Robinson and his mother was Frances Sarah, daughter of Thomas Bilbe. [1] In 1881 he emigrated to Queensland and went into business, becoming involved in many companies. He also joined the Queensland Militia and rose to the rank of Major commanding the 1st Queenslanders and was later senior officer in Central Queensland.

Rotherhithe residential district in southeast London, England

Rotherhithe is a residential district in south-east London, England, and part of the London Borough of Southwark. It is part of the traditional county of Surrey, but for administrative purposes was part of the County of London following the passing of the Local Government Act 1888, it later became part of Greater London in 1965. Historically the area was the most northeastern settlement in the county of Surrey. It is located on a peninsula on the south bank of the Thames, facing Wapping and the Isle of Dogs on the north bank, and is a part of the Docklands area. It borders Bermondsey to the west and Deptford to the south east.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom, as well as the largest city within the European Union. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

Thomas Bilbe was an English shipbuilder and shipowner based in Rotherhithe. He built tea clippers and was involved in the opium trade with China.

In 1910 he returned to London as Agent-General for Queensland and served until his retirement at the end of 1919. During the First World War the Board of Trade gave him the responsibility of procuring and distributing frozen meat to the Allied Forces. This job he carried out exceptionally well, and by the end of the war he had dealt with 3,500,000 tons of meat, the largest quantity that had been handled by a single organisation at any time in history to date. It was one commodity that the Allied Forces were never short of.

Board of Trade committee of the United Kingdom Privy Council

The Board of Trade is a British government department concerned with commerce and industry, currently within the Department for International Trade. Its full title is The Lords of the Committee of the Privy Council appointed for the consideration of all matters relating to Trade and Foreign Plantations, but is commonly known as the Board of Trade, and formerly known as the Lords of Trade and Plantations or Lords of Trade, and it has been a committee of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom. The Board has gone through several evolutions, beginning with extensive involvement in colonial matters in the 17th Century, to powerful regulatory functions in the Victorian Era, to virtually being dormant in the last third of 20th century. In 2017, it was revitalized as an advisory board headed by the International Trade Secretary who has nominally held the title of President of the Board of Trade, and who at present is the only privy counsellor of the Board, the other members of the present Board filling roles as advisers.

Allies of World War I group of countries that fought against the Central Powers in World War I

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The ton is a unit of measure. It has a long history and has acquired a number of meanings and uses over the years. It is used principally as a unit of mass. Its original use as a measurement of volume has continued in the capacity of cargo ships and in terms such as the freight ton. It can also be used as a measure of energy, for truck classification, or as a colloquial term.

Robinson was knighted in 1910 shortly after his appointment as Agent-General, appointed Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) in 1913, Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in 1917, and Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE) in the 1920 Birthday Honours. He was also an Officer of the Légion d'Honneur (for his services as a commissioner of the Franco-British Exhibition), and a Commander of both the Order of the Crown of Belgium and the Order of the Crown of Italy.

The dignity of Knight Bachelor is the basic and lowest rank of a man who has been knighted by the monarch but not as a member of one of the organised orders of chivalry; it is a part of the British honours system. Knights Bachelor are the most ancient sort of British knight, but Knights Bachelor rank below knights of chivalric orders.

Order of St Michael and St George series of appointments of an order of chivalry of the United Kingdom

The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George is a British order of chivalry founded on 28 April 1818 by George, Prince Regent, later King George IV, while he was acting as regent for his father, King George III.

Order of the British Empire British order of chivalry

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry, rewarding contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organisations, and public service outside the civil service. It was established on 4 June 1917 by King George V and comprises five classes across both civil and military divisions, the most senior two of which make the recipient either a knight if male or dame if female. There is also the related British Empire Medal, whose recipients are affiliated with, but not members of, the order.

The grave of Thomas B. Robinson in the churchyard of St Peter's, Kent The grave of Thomas B. Robinson in the churchyard of St Peter-in-Thanet, Kent.jpg
The grave of Thomas B. Robinson in the churchyard of St Peter's, Kent


  1. Wilson, Paul D. "Robinson, Sir Thomas Bilbe (1853–1939)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 22 December 2015.

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