Forster, Robert Mariner

Full name:

Forster, Robert Mariner

Dates recorded for being in Berrima:


Occupation if known and land ownership:

Clerk to the Bench and Registrar Petty Sessions

Robert Mariner Forster was the son of Berrima’s gaoler, Henry Forster, and arrived with his parents in 1835 on the Marquis of Huntley (4), aged 17. It is likely he did not live in Berrima until June 1841 when he was appointed clerk to the courts.

In 1837 he was a clerk to the Crown Solicitor in Sydney and in June 1841 was appointed, at his father’s request, to the equivalent position in Berrima. A letter exists from Henry Forster to Major Messiter. an officer in the 28th Regiment of Foot, in which Henry had served as a sergeant, requesting his support in securing the Berrima appointment for his son. Robert Forster, then aged 23, remained in that position for another nine years – still earning a salary of £100 per annum.

In September 1847 he married Maria Anne Morris.[1] Maria was the fifth daughter of Mr D Morris of Sydney.

Forster is mentioned in the press throughout the 1840s in his official role and as secretary of the District Council, a role he offered to carry out without payment until the Council had sufficient funds. He also supported the township on other matters. An entry in the Sydney Morning Herald of 16 February 1850 reports him speaking at length against a proposed road from Bong Bong to Nattai (Mittagong), one of his arguments being that it would act to the detriment of Berrima, encouraging people to use the old road (via Sutton Forest and Bong Bong) rather than the new one through Berrima. (This competition between township and district interests to attract traffic was a recurring theme for many years.) But regrettably he was too outspoken on one issue (unknown) which caused him to be recalled to Sydney under something of a cloud in 1851. Before his departure he was praised by the residents of both township and the district, who said he had served ‘with credit to yourself, and satisfaction to the public at large’. In 1862 Robert Mariner Forster was elected a member of the NSW Legislative Council, a position he held until 1877.

There is more information available in the public domain on Robert.[2]

[1] Anglican Church Diocese Records , Sutton Forest 1847

[2] Robert Henry Mariner was born near Corfu in Greece on the ship Mariner in 1818; and Accessed 2019