Robertson was born at Glasgow, Scotland. His parents moved to Dublin when he was four years old. He subsequently became apprenticed to a firm of publishers. He worked for a time with Currey and Company Booksellers in Scotland. In Dublin he had become friendly with Samuel Mullen and the two young men decided to emigrate to Australia.
They reached Melbourne on the Great Britain in 1852, bringing with them a collection of books. Robertson opened first in Russell Street but soon moved to Collins Street, and around 1861 built a three-storey building at 69 Elizabeth Street. The business was developing fast, principally on the wholesale side. In those days there were no publishers' representatives in Australia, and the great problem for the bookseller was to forecast what would be popular, and order a sufficient number of copies to meet the demand.
Around 1873 large premises were built in Little Collins Street, with provision for stationery, book-binding, lithography, etc., and branches were opened in Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Auckland. In 1890 Robertson retired and the business was carried on by his son, Charles. It was eventually formed into a company which in 1922 was amalgamated with Melville and Mullens under the name of Robertson and Mullens Ltd.
He was married twice and had a large family. The need for encouraging local literature was not then fully appreciated, but Robertson such books as Kendall's Leaves from Australian Forests, Gordon's Sea Spray and Smoke Drift, and James Brunton Stephens' The Black Gin and other Poems.
It's BookExpo time! It happens every May: BookExpo America draws booksellers, publishers and other assorted industry players to a mega-convention of what's happening. Here's what on this year.
May 01, 2003; BookExpo America (BEA) is more than the meeting place for the entire publishing and bookselling industry. It's an event where...