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Family Celebrates Its Kumbia Connection

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Margaret and David Robinson, from Newcastle, with a wedding photo of Percy and Grace … the framed tribute also includes Grace’s wedding ring

December 5, 2018

Exactly 100 years ago on Tuesday, two Kumbia residents tied the knot at the then-Methodist Church in town.

Percy Robinson and Grace Prothero came from well-known local families which had been heavily involved in the establishment of the congregation just a few years earlier.

In fact, they were probably only the second couple to be married in the building.

Percy and Grace went on to have 11 children – Eva, Arthur, Ron, Ben (d. age 12), Joyce, Eric, Jean, Clarry, Margaret (d. baby), Daphne and David – and their descendants now number at least 120.

So it was fitting that a group of those descendants, covering three generations, made a pilgrimage back to Kumbia on Tuesday to discover where their family tree had begun.

The get-together was organised by grandson Neile Robinson, from Northmead in western Sydney.

Only two of Percy and Grace’s children are still alive: Daphne, 84, who lives in Newcastle; and David, 82, who made the trek from Newcastle to Kumbia for the family reunion.

They were greeted at the Kumbia Uniting Church by Rev Dr David Ferguson, the local Minister, who opened the building for them to explore.

Rev Ferguson also shared some of the early history of the congregation with the visitors (see below), reinforcing the close connection the Prothero and Robinson families had (and have) with the Kumbia area.

Percy and Grace Robinson’s house in Kumbia in 1921 (Photo: Robinson family)

* * *

A history written by Shirley Tucker shows the involvement of the Robinson and Prothero families in the Kumbia area:

In July 1913, Rev Mills reported to the Kingaroy Quarterly meeting that he had visited the Kumbia neighbourhood and that he thought the time was opportune to commence fortnightly services there – especially as homes had already been offered for this purpose.

A few months later, after Kumbia home worship had begun, permission was given to buy a half-acre block at Kumbia. At a meeting in January 1914, Rev Mills and Messrs R.E. and R.F. Horton, P. Robinson and B.S. Prothero decided to proceed with building a Methodist Church in Kumbia.

The district was canvassed for logs to be cut by a travelling sawmill and used for the proposed 30 foot by 20 foot church building.

To prepare for the March stumpcapping of the new church, Mr Bett promised to cut the stumps. Mr Prothero would put the stumps in place on the ground so Mr E. Robinson could then stand them in position.  Following this stumpcapping ceremony, they all enjoyed a special tea and concert at the school.

At this stage, Messrs Prothero, Horton and Dascombe each promised to donate five pounds towards the church …

The church was opened on May 10, 1914, and four days later the church families celebrated with a tea and concert.

The first trustees were Messrs R. and F. Horton, A. Dascombe and B.S. Prothero.

During 1915, Messrs E. and P. Robinson and J. Missingham were appointed to the board.

Neile Robinson, from Northmead, who organised the reunion in Kumbia, with Uniting Church minister Rev Dr David Ferguson

Carl, Susan and Josh Robinson, from Richmond, in NSW

Members of the Robinson family at the Kumbia Uniting Church with a wedding photo of Percy and Grace

The Robinson family gathered in the pews to listen to Rev Ferguson

The Kumbia Uniting Church has stood proudly in the main street of Kumbia since 1914


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2 Responses to Family Celebrates Its Kumbia Connection

  1. Kaye McIntyre (née) Robinson

    Many thanks for this effort – it is much appreciated by all the family

  2. Daphne Turton

    My husband and I were not able to travel to Kumbia for my parents’ 100th anniversary but we really appreciate the kindness of everyone who responded to my nephew Neile Robinson’s arrangements. I am the only daughter left of my parents’ 11 children and I enjoyed meeting many members of the family in Belmont on Saturday. I have learned a little more about the establishment of the Church in Kumbia from your article. I knew that my father, Percy Robinson and his brother had cut the timber for the Church with his steam-driven sawmill and had helped to build the Church, and that that was where he met my mother. Thank you and God bless you, Daphne Turton.

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