George Robinson, Vancouver Island Pioneer

Forward, Dedication & About the Author


This narrative has been assembled from a wide variety of sources. I am particularly indebted to the staff of the Provincial Archives for their generous help in locating newspaper articles, government reports and various journals and letters which concern the Robinson family, including its offshoots the Bates and the Bryants. Second only to the Provincial Archives, I am indebted to the staff of the City of Victoria Archives for their assistance. I also wish to thank Mr. J. Borserio of Nanaimo, who loaned me a copy of his discourse on the first voyage of the Princess Royal and gave me permission to quote from it. The remaining data come largely from scrapbooks kept by George Robinson and his grandson George, together with a haphazard collection of newspaper articles and scribbled notes which I gathered over several years but never got around to putting into a scrapbook of my own. Random data were also obtained from various government and private institutions as detailed later in the narrative, and from books in the reference section of the Victoria Public Library. Two letters, a copy of a bequest statement, a photograph album and several cards which had belonged to Victor Ernest Robinson remain of what I recall was a much larger collection of oddments in the days of my childhood. Finally, I have drawn on a none‚too‚reliable memory to recall stories told me over the years by my mother, my uncles and my mother's childhood friends.

With all this as a background, it is of little wonder that the narrative is a hodge-podge, a literary Irish stew made of whatever came to hand. I trust that it will be a readable and entertaining hodge-podge. However I shall be glad to hear from any reader who can correct or add to any portion. Perhaps by this means I may yet bridge the gaps and explain the puzzles which hide from us so much of the life and times of Vancouver Island pioneer George Robinson.

I should be greatly remiss if I did not acknowledge with gratitude the many hours spent by Anne Whittaker of Nanaimo and Harry Downard of Victoria, in reading over and commenting on the early drafts of this account. Their remarks shortened many a lengthy sentence and eliminated much turgid language. All who read this narrative will benefit from their labours.

Randolph Sydney Vickers
Victoria, B.C.
27th November, 1983


To my wife Margaret, who patiently endured four years of research and the continuous, annoying clatter of typewriter keys.


Randolph Vickers is the great-grandson of George Robinson, his mother, Florence Robinson, was the daughter of George Robinson's son, Victor Ernest. He originally wrote this book as a labour of love, intending it only to be read by the descendents of George Robinson. Researching and writing it took four years out of his retirement years.

Except for the war years which he spent with the Canadian navy in Scotland, Randy spent all of his working years as a civil servant in the Federal Government, mostly in the Naval Supply Branch. He and his wife Margaret (1920-1989) were married for 48 years. He had three daughters, one son, three granddaughters (one now deceased), two grandsons and four great-granddaughters. Randy was born on Janaury 10, 1917 and passed away on November 6, 2008, two months before his 92nd birthday.

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