Tuesday, December 29, 2009

'Robin' Artworks

Maitland Mercury, Monday 27 July, 2009
Many people will know Brian Burke as the halfback who helped guide the Maitland Pumpkin Pickers to four premierships between 1965 and 1973, as well as representing at State level. But few will know him as a patron of the arts, and even fewer will be aware of Mr Burke’s connection to Robin (aka John Robinson), artist, convicted armed robber and Maitland Gaol inmate.
In 1977, Maitland Gaol hosted a rare charity relay fundraising event and, as a locally renowned sportsman, Mr Burke was on hand to present the awards. In return he was given a small landscape painting signed simply, “Robin”. Impressed, Mr Burke commissioned the artist for another, larger one for his home. The two paintings are identical in style to another Robin-signed work in the gaol’s saddlery and a much larger unsigned piece on display in the administration office.
Oral history of Robin’s story continues. Mid-way through a lengthy sentence for armed robbery, and having been removed to Milson Island on the Hawkesbury River, Robin was allowed to travel to Sydney for art classes. One afternoon Robin didn’t return, escaping briefly, only to be arrested for another offence in South Australia.
Anyone with prison-made artworks who would be interested in loaning them to the jail for a proposed future exhibition are encouraged to contact Maitland Gaol on (02) 4936 6482 or email info@maitlandgaol.com.au


  1. Hi only just found your site .Iam ROBINS son .Robins real name is John Stephen Robinson my name is Mark Stephen Robinson .I have been trying to find out about my dad for years he also painted Darcy Ducans portrait. I have a few of his earlier works on my wall. My daughter has inherited his skills..I have visited The Maitland Goal when they first opened it to the public but no one could help me then with any info on my dad. My email address is marnic01@dodo.com.au if anyon nows him or if you can help me or anyone who has a robin painting. thank you kindly for your time
    mark robinson

  2. It was great to hear from Mark Robinson and to be able to expand the social material available on Maitland Gaol. This is what this blog is all about!
    We will hopefully have further discussions with Mark and learn more about his father's story. Stay tuned.
    Meanwhile, if anyone does have material which could help Mark in the pursuit of information on his father, please make contact with him and we would really appreciate copies here at Maitland Gaol so we can continue to develop our information on past inmates, staff and other people involved with Maitland Gaol also.

  3. I saw a large painting of a tree against a stylised background of blu mountains in a large blue frame. Signed Robin in blue on right hand corner -- ratyher large signature. Painting was in a Salvation Army store on Kapiti Coast. Is this same guy?

  4. It would not be possible to say with any certainty whether this was a John Robinson artwork from the description without checking its similarities to other works known to be painted by him. If you have access to the work and can obtain an image of it we can compare it to works here at Maitland Gaol and give an opinion on this. Please forward any information to info@maitlandgaol.com.au

    1. Please note a separate email that I wrote to the Mark Robinson email address shown above but that is no longer a valid email address. I have tonight sent you ( the Gaol) a copy under separate cover. I am trying to ascertain if a painting I have that is signed just Robin can be attributed to an ex inmate John Robinson. Photo of the painting is attached to the email

  5. I just got a painting because I found it beautiful and intriguing and I wanted to find out about the artist and its just simply signed Robin in the right bottom corner and its a painting of trees with a stream and a mountain background and I think this may be the guy that painted it if anyone can give me any information on his work or his signature email me at Perceydylan@gmail.com Thank You.