Basic Biographical Details

Name: George Birrell Robertson
Designation: Architect
Born: 1859
Died: 2 February 1913
Bio Notes: George Birrell Robertson was born in Dundee in 1859 and articled to John W Buchanan of Edinburgh, 1874-78. Thereafter he moved to Bristol as assistant to another Catholic architect William Venn Gough, 1879-80. In 1880 he emigrated to New South Wales and there found employment in the offices of George Allen Mansfield (Mansfield Brothers) in Sydney, eventually becoming his managing clerk.

He commenced independent practice in Sydney in 1892, in partnership with Theodore John Marks (1865-1941) opening an office in O’Connell Street. In the years that followed Robertson and Marks became one of the most prestigious architectural offices in New South Wales. As senior partner in the practice, Robertson was involved with the construction of some of the largest buildings in Sydney at the time, including Challis House, Martin Place (1908, now demolished) and the Commercial Travellers Club Buildings, Moore and Castlereagh Streets.

For many years he served on the council of the Institute of Architects of New South Wales, and was vice-president in 1907, 1908 and 1909. When in 1910 he was unanimously elected President of the Institute of Architects, he found it necessary to have a formal connection with the RIBA, He was admitted LRIBA on 6 June 1910, his proposers being the New South Wales Institute and Maximilian Clarke, Arthur Needham Wilson, and Andrew Noble Prentice, all of London.

Ill-health forced his retirement from active business in 1911 and he then spent a year in English and Continental resorts in an unsuccessful attempt to regain his health. Robertson died at his home in Ashfield, Sydney on Sunday 2 February 1913, aged 54, and was interred in the Presbyterian portion of Rookwood Cemetery.

On 15 August 1889 at the Australian Church, Melbourne, George B Robertson married Katie Meston. They were to have four children, Stuart, Ossian, Kelvin, and Theodore.

The RIBA Directory also notes his employment as assistant by an as yet unidentified John Lowrie in 1880. It is unclear whether this was before or after his departure to Australia.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 4Bristol, Somerset, England(?)Private/business18791880 
Item 2 of 4Sydney, AustraliaPrivate/businessAfter 1880  
Item 3 of 4O'Connell Street, Sydney, AustraliaBusiness1892 Robertson and Marks office
Item 4 of 4Warrawee, Charlotte Street, Ashfield, Sydney, AustraliaPrivate19101913Also given as Warrawu

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 5John W Buchanan18741878Apprentice 
Item 2 of 5William Venn Gough18791880Assistant 
Item 3 of 5John Lowrie1880 Assistant 
Item 4 of 5Mansfield Brothers18801892AssistantManaging clerk
Item 5 of 5Robertson & Marks18921913Partner 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3Max Clarke6 June 1910for Licentiateship
Item 2 of 3Andrew Noble Prentice6 June 1910for Licentiateship
Item 3 of 3Arthur Needham Wilson6 June 1910for Licentiateship


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 1British Architectural Library, RIBA2001Directory of British Architects 1834-1914   

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 3Building News25 April 1913  p590 - obituary
Item 2 of 3Sydney Morning Herald3 February 1913  p10 - obituary
Item 3 of 3Sydney Morning Herald4 February 1913  p8 - funeral