Phil Robin’s World War I sacrifice recalled on Remembrance Day 2023 in Murray Bridge
More than a century ago, the life of a national football star and much-loved banker was cut short. This is his story.
The sacrifice made by a state footballer, banker and original ANZAC has been recalled at a Remembrance Day service in Murray Bridge.
Phil Robin grew up in Adelaide, became a star player at St Peters College during his teenaged years, and soon found himself playing for Norwood and South Australia on tours to Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.
“His electrifying dashes down the wing, weaving and dodging his way past opponents, delighted both the Redleg faithful as well as general connoisseurs of the game,” one sportswriter wrote.
During the week he worked at the Murray Bridge branch of the Bank of Adelaide, initially as a teller, then as an accountant.
“His genial nature and thoughtfulness made him a warm favorite with the bank’s customers in their dealings with him,” manager R. Smeaton would later recall.
Mobilong council chairman John Homburg remembered him as an active citizen.
“There was no worthy effort made by the people of this town with which Mr Robin failed to associate himself,” he would later say.
“As an interstate footballer he became a popular hero; but to those whose good fortune it was to know him intimately, his sterling qualities of character far outshone the transient fame he won as an all-round athlete.”
Life was good, but the times were troubling.
On August 4, 1914, the United Kingdom and Australia were drawn into the war that was beginning in Europe.
Less than three weeks later – five days after his 30th birthday – Mr Robin “expressed his willingness to surrender his own cherished ideas of life and success for the nation’s life and prosperity”, as The Chronicle would later put it, and enlisted in the Australian Army.
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