b 1880 “Oakbank” Gullengutta, Warialda District near Graman NSW
(Parents: Alexander Dill Gamble and Fanny O’Donnell)
d 18 April 1929
Aged 49 years
Interred Rookwood Cemetery Church of England Section 9 Grave 726
Eleventh child and sixth son in the family, educated from the daily bible readings by his father and tutoring by Julius Speers.
Robert grew up on “Oakbank” and was only 4 years of age when his mother died.
He remained on “Oakbank” with the family undertaking everyday rural tasks, until he moved to Queensland to work for his brother Valentine, who had won a ballot of land in Texas. Robert was then about 30 years of age.
Robert never married and in 1915 aged 34 years enlisted in WWI. Assigned to 12th Light Horse Regiment, 10th Reinforcement. Regimental Number 1831. He embarked from Sydney on board RMS Mongolia on 8 July 1916, he was by that time 35 years of age.
Reality was harsh for those troops on duty in the middle east. It is therefore little wonder that Robert and others found themselves on more than one occasion absent without leave in the local village and on more than one occasion suffering from drunkenness.
Robert’s other health issues involved venereal disease (reportedly contracted in Australia) conjunctivitis, diahorrea and a broken wrist.
Returning to Australia from the war on 24 July 1919, he left the AIF, having served his country for four years. Robert found employment working on the trams around Sydney and was living in a boarding house in Darlington. Adjusting to everyday city life for this boy from the bush was not easy and through circumstances, possibly loneliness, he began drinking heavily.
It was on Wednesday night 17th April 1929 that Robert was knocked down in an inebriated condition, outside the old Grace Bros Building on Broadway Sydney by a motor car driven by Oswald Kelly of Petersham Road Marrickville. Mr Kelly drove Robert to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital where he was admitted in an unconscious condition, suffering from a fractured skull and other injuries. Sadly he passed away as a result of these injuries.
Family members heard news of the accident and thought it was Cornelius who had been knocked down. Nieces Mona and Kitty collected young Ina Morna (daughter of Cornelius) and took her to the hospital, only to discover it was Robert that had been killed. They were then able to formally identify the body.