The Father of the Evening Penny Post

Robert Lemon

Robert Lemon

Below is Robert Bruce Lemon’s obituary which was printed in the Goulburn Evening Penny Post on 7 Dec 1937. He was born in 1869 in Parramatta to Robert Lemon and Margaret Oliver. He married Florence Mustard in 1897 in Goulburn, NSW.

There is very little left to say that is not in the obituary:

“MR. ROBERT LEMON
Death Occurs Following Operation
NOTED GOULBURN FIGURE PASSES

The many friends of Mr. Robert Lemon, of Goulburn, will be shocked to learn that he passed away this morning as a result of pneumonia supervening on an operation performed last Thursday fortnight. The operation was successful, and for a week afterwards it was hoped thatMr. Lemon would recover. He was his genial self for a time, and during those days there was little fear. Then pleurisy came, followed by pneumonia, and he had been in an unconscious state since Friday last.

Mr. Lemon, or as he was always known to those who associated with him, Bob Lemon, was probably one of the most picturesque figures in the life of Goulburn during the past half century. An actor of undoubted brilliance, he captured the hearts of Goulburn audiences in the days of his youth and, until he retired from the stage two years ago, scarcely a year passed without Mr. Lemon appearing in a couple of notable roles. Mr.Lemon had a magnificent voice, in addition to his natural gift for acting. His rich, resonant bass voice was a tower of strength to any chorus, and as a soloist he was a singer of very high rank indeed. He owed much of his deserved fame in this direction to his power of interpretation, a companion, of course, of his ability to act. With this combination it is not surprising that he appeared and was at home in comic opera, drama and comedy, None of them came amiss to him and there was never a part which he did not play with rare skill. It was his manner on and off the stage which made him beloved of all who came in close contact with him,for many an amateur received a friendly hint or a genial pat of encouragement and yet, with it all, there was never anything that suggested patronage. A gifted man himself, he knew the difficulties and how great they were for the average man who makes his appearance before an audience.

MANY CHARACTERS
It would be impossible to recall all the characters Mr. Lemon has portrayed for Goulburn audiences. Here are a few of them: The Mikado, in “The Mikado; ” Squire Bantam in “Dorothy; “Ko-Ko in “The Geisha; “Rajah of Bong in “The Country Girl; “Richard Denver in “The Silver King;” the name part in “Lightnin’; “Dick Phenyl in “Sweet Lavender; “Hawkshaw, the detective, in “TheTicket of Leave Man; ” ‘Cattermole in”The Private Secretary; ” Peters, the hermit, in “Seven Keys to Baldpate; “the judge in “The Trial of Mary  Dugan, ” Marquis Imari in “TheGeisha”, “Yen How in “San Toy; ” leading roles in ‘”H.M.S. Pinafore”, “TheGondoliers”, “Pirates of Penzance,” “The Shop Girl,” and many others. During his lifetime Mr. Lemon had played, it is safe to say, over a hundred leading roles, and in all of them he was a success because he brought to them an understanding intelligence and a sympathetic nature. He lived the character he enacted; it was genuine acting and Goulburn had in him a great actor who always gave of his best. In this regard, especially before the days of the cinema, Goulburn was a privileged city. It was, always, and naturally, a distressing thing for him to see passing away before him the great day of the stage. Mr. Lemon gave of his talents liberally. Whenever possible he always played his part. Whether it was good opera or a smoke-room concert he was always willing to give of his best. No cause in the city has not benefited, directly or indirectly, from his efforts at one time or another.

BEST PORTRAYALS
Like most others in Goulburn, we did not see Mr. Lemon in one half of the roles he played, but there are some that stand out in our mind. On eis Gaspard, in “Les Cloches de Corneville,” which, in the hands of Mr. Lemon, was a magnificent creation; it was possibly the greatest part he played in opera, most of the others being of the lighter character associated with musical comedy. In the name part of ‘”Lightnin’ ” he played another splendid part and a most lovable character as portrayed by Bob Lemon was that of Dick Phenyl in”Sweet Lavender,” Of it Mr. Lemon made a great character, dominating as it should the whole of Pinero’s play. He was associated with the Liedertafel, Goulburn Musical and Operatic Society and the Goulburn Choral and Operatic Society. For many years he was a member of St. Saviour’s Cathedral choir and St. Andrew’s choir, but, again, no choir has not had his help at some time or another. The last appearance of Mr. Lemon  was in a pageant play written by Canon Hirst and performed in the St. Saviour’s Cathedral. During Mr. Lemon’s association with the Goulburn Choral and Operatic Society he gave yeoman service to that body from the time of its inception until the cessation of activities. In addition to his enthusiastic and invaluable work as a member of the committee he took part in practically every stage performance, and in 1926 produced “Sweet Lavender”, the society’s first dramatic offering, the success of which exemplified his ability as a producer  He was for many years a member of the old Goulburn Highland Society and Burns Club and was always one of the principal artistes at the anniversary night concert, at one time a regular and popular feature of Goulburn life. At the Diggers’ Armistice night reunion, together with numbers of other similar social gatherings  he regularly contributed songs which were regarded as a feature of the evening’s entertainment.

EARLY LIFE
Mr. Lemon was born at Parramatta in 1868 and, came here as a boy. His father, Mr. Robert Lemon, was awarder in the newly opened reformatory and for a time the family lived in Allison Street, North Goulburn, later moving to Marsden Street, where Mr. Lemon was living with his sister when illness overtook him. His wife, Mrs. Lemon, died during the influenza epidemic in 1919. He leaves a son, Mr. Harold Lemon, of Sydney; two daughters, Mrs. McFarlane, of  Grafton Street, Goulburn, and Mrs.  Aubrey Brown, of Grafton ; two sisters, 
Miss Jane Lemon, of Marsden Street, Goulburn, and Mrs. R. Stephenson, of Sydney, and two brothers, Mr. W.J. Lemon, of Chatswood, and Mr. Les Lemon, of Bondi. Messrs. Fred and Bob Lemon, of Goulburn, are nephews. His eldest daughter, Mrs. Dunshea, who was a brilliant pianiste, died at Maitland 15 years ago, and three brothers, James, Harry and George, also predeceased him. Mrs. George Fuller, of Lagoon Street, Goulburn, is a sister-in-law. Mr. Lemon was a lover of a good horse and was fond of racing generally. Particularly did he love a good trotter, and no trotting meeting was held at which he was not present if circumstances permitted. He had a happy knack of picking good two-year-olds.

THIS JOURNAL
Mr. Lemon joined the staff of the Goulburn Evening Penny Post as a boy of 14 and, apart from short breaks of about a year, he has been associated with this journal for some 55 years. Mr. Lemon was regarded during these later years as the “Father of the Office,” and there were many who went to him for a friendly word of advice and help in their troubles of life. As was remarked at a presentation made to him on the occasion of his half-century with the firm, he was something more than an ordinary employee. He was a friend and adviser right through. Mr. Lemon was, and always remained, a genial spirit and ever young in outlook, much is he regretted the trend of the times in some directions. He was respected equally by employer and fellow-employee. He rendered good and faithful service to this firm, and we realise how great a loss his death is to this journal. Mr. Lemon was our chief compositor, and in this position came in contact with practically all the advertisers in Goulburn. They in turn learned to appreciate his many good qualities. Mr. Lemon became a Mason at avery young age and has been associated with the Craft practically all his life. Latterly he was associated with the Goulburn Lodge of Australia asc haplain. His voice was heard whenever there was song, and in this direction alone he was of great assistance to the Masons in this city.

THE FUNERAL
There will be a Lodge of Sorrow at the Masonic Temple at 3.30 tomorrow afternoon, and the funeral will leave for the Church of England portion of the general cemetery at 3.45.”

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One Response to The Father of the Evening Penny Post

  1. Pingback: The Lemons of Goulburn | Laney's Past

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