Mark Robinson

Mark Robinson
Cycling - 1908

Mark Robinson was no stranger to cycling when he won his first race at fifteen. Seven brothers, Fred, Arty, Jim, Tom, Reg and Bill had all been good cyclists, and were some of the best riders when cycling was the most popular sport on Monaro.

Mark’s first race was on the Cooma Showground on an old bike he had bought for two pounds. Mark’s next bike was a racing model he received as a gift from Jim Ryall and on his first outing at Berridale he won the half mile, the two mile and the five mile scratch.

In 1903, Mark, along with his brother Tom, entered the Goulburn to Sydney race and despite not having trained, and knowing nothing about riding in long races managed to finish the course.

In 1905 four of the Robinson boys entered for the Goulburn with Mark emulating the feat of his brother Tom, who had won in 1904, by winning in a very close finish. Approaching the end of the race it appeared that either Tom or Mark could win but Mark prevailed.

In 1908 the locals entered again. Mark was contract fencing at Rosedale. It was a bad snow year, and the only training he could do was 2,000 skips in the hut every night, followed by four rounds with four of the men (one after the other) and a rub down.

When he came to join the others he found he was the only man who had finally accepted. “Well”, Mark thought, “I’ve done too much skipping and boxing to miss out. I’m going in”. He did exactly that and won for the second time. The “Highway” was unsealed at that time and the stretch between Bowral and Mittagong was thick with red dust but it was on this track the Mark made his move and with his hard muscles driving the pedals in perfect rhythm, young Mark Robinson, the pride of Monaro, went on to win the gruelling 131 mile race in six hours and fifteen minutes and left the others to sort out the minor placings.