A Fortunate Life

A Fortunate Life

Robert dressed like a successful businessman of his times, in morning coat, waistcoat, silk hat and striped trousers. However, it was said he would have walked the streets of Melbourne barefoot to help those in need.


Robert regarded his true life purpose as being in the service of others. Growing up in Ireland, Robert saw people who were terribly poor, destitute and homeless, and this undoubtedly shaped his outlook. Robert believed that he had been blessed with a great opportunity to make a fortune, and rather than enjoy it himself, he would use that wealth to help others.

In an era before the online information saturation of today’s digital age, many young people were passionate about  politics and religion. Robert became deeply interested in religion and in particular the message of compassion, hope and redemption he found in the New Testament.

Robert was eventually baptised by immersion into the name of Christ, and for a time even tried his hand at preaching. He started a Sunday School with 120 pupils in a carpenter’s shop in Richmond and later erected a suitable building on the site.

At one stage he was the largest financial subscriber to Home Missions in Victoria, and also supported missions in the US, China, Africa and the Pacific.

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