William Herbert Robley aka. Bert the second son of Joseph and Sarah Robley was born at Rydal, NSW in May 1879. He attended the Rydal School where he was a seen as a bright and promising pupil.

He was encouraged by his teacher and later trained as a pupil teacher. His training completed, he was appointed to Carcoar.

Until 1905 most teachers in government schools were trained, on the job, as pupil-teachers. Most pupil-teachers began their four-year course between the ages of 13 and 16; during school hours they taught a class full-time, and for an hour or so each day, out of school hours, they were instructed in teaching method and content by the head teacher.

Carcoar is a town in the Central West region of NSW. It is situated 258 km west of Sydney. It is located in a small green valley. It was once one of the most important government centres in Western New South Wales. The town has been classified by the National Trust due to the number of intact 19th-century buildings.

While this would seem to be quite a nice posting Bert did not take it up. Whatever the reason, he went to work at Bracey's Ltd., a Lithgow General Store.

He married a local girl, Mabel Anne Dawson, and went to live at the Dawson family home in Lithgow where he was to remain for the rest of his life.

Bert was a very quiet and retiring man and most attached to his home and garden. It is this that may explain his reluctance to take up teaching and face the probability of transfers and moves from familiar surroundings. He spent all his working life, of over 30 years, at the produce department in Bracey's Store. Eileen Young recalls visiting the store on the way home from School :-

Uncle Bert would appear from somewhere amid the bags of chaff and bins of fowl feed. He always wore a big leather apron, and it was a never failing ritual for him to lift me up on to the big scales, slide the weights along until we balanced and then announce how much I weighed. I felt important and I thought that Uncle Bert was someone very special.

Lithgow, like the rest of the country, was hit very hard by the general depression. Loyalty and length of service counted for nothing. Many, including Bert, joined the ranks of the unemployed their places being taken by young boys, under 18 years, working for a pittance. They in turn were sacked when they turned 18 years.

Not suprisingly, Bert took his retrenchment after his long service very badly. His health deteriorated and he suffered a heart attack and died suddenly in 1932. He was only 53 years old. He is buried in the Dawson family grave in the old Protestant Cemetery in South Bowenfels, NSW. Mabel Anne died in 1967 in Newtown, New South Wales.

Written By John Robley, from the research of Eileen S. Young. Photograph from Ancestry.