Macpherson Robertson of Mac. Robertson Land
Macpherson Robertson was the Melbourne chocolate manufacturer and later philanthropist after whom Mac. Robertson Land is named.
Robertson was born in Ballarat in 1859, his mother was Irish and father Scottish. After a childhood of struggle in Scotland and back in Melbourne, Robertson manage to learn the trade of confectioner and by the age of 19 set up his own business in his mother's laundry.
From this small beginning grew Melbourne's most famous confectionary works, known as MacRobertsons. Macpherson Robertson – over a long career – introduced chewing gum and fairy floss to Australia, plus successes that included the Freddo Frog and Cherry Ripe.
In later life Robertson become a great philanthropist, and it was to Robertson that Sir Douglas Mawson and then Prime Minister Stanley Bruce turned to when trying to raise funds for the British, Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Expedition. Robertson agreed and donated 10,000 pounds, a huge sum in 1928.
He was appointed to the organising committee of the BANZARE. And Mawson named the Mac. Robertson Land region to honour his benefactor.
The second voyage of the BANZARE required more funds, and again Mawson appealed to Robertson, this time he gave an additional 6,000 pounds, but requested Mawson help get him a knighthood. Mawson eventually succeeded in getting Robertson his knighthood, which was awarded in 1932 for services to the Antarctic Research Expedition of 1929-1931.
The portrait of Macpherson Robertson in the Multimedia collection is from the John King Davis collection. It is signed by Robertson with his trademark signature as a gift to Davis. A second signed copy of this photo hung in Mawson's cabin in the Discovery.