Chris Robbins died on 29th March 2020, peacefully at Scalabrini Nursing Home. Chris was well-known and well-liked in the communities he lived. Due to COVID-19 his family has been unable to lay their dad to rest. His daughter Kelly kindly wrote a tribute to her dad which you can read below along with funeral details.
In July of 1989 Mum and Dad - Chris and Jenny Robbins - bought the Tarana hotel. At the time the bar was falling apart around them and had only a grand total of five regular old farmer customers. The bar even had a slope to it and when Dad used to serve beer to his five loyal patrons it would slide off the bar.
Dad had a grand vision for his little crumbling pub and set out to turn his little dream pub into the iconic hotel it is today. In the first year of owning the pub Dad built a new bar and laid new floors throughout the entire hotel because there were even holes in the floor. Once he was happy with that he wanted accommodation so out of town people could explore the wonders of Tarana so Dad purchased three cabins, and established local accommodation for the hotel.
Next on Dad's list was providing decent meals for the patrons, as Dad found the local farmers rarely had time to cook themselves decent meals. Mum was no commercial chef but soon discovered cooking for the locals had some real benefits to the township and Dad thought building a commercial kitchen and dining area important as the next big step for the hotel. Soon the hotel grew, providing over 500 meals on the weekends to Bathurst, Lithgow and Oberon locals as soon word got out that the Tarana Hotel was the place to be.
In his spare time Dad petitioned Lithgow Council to tar the dirt-road main street and then rallied to have street lights installed in the township. Dad also felt it important that the Tarana Anzac memorial be acknowledged, so he established a public dawn Anzac memorial service for anyone who wanted to attend. In the first year 30 people attended, growing quickly to over 150 in the years that followed.
Dad also joined the local rural fire service and regularly held fundraisers ensuring the township of Tarana was bushfire safe. He was also highly respected and appreciated for his generosity and annual fundraising efforts for the Care Flight Helicopter Service.
In 2009 Dad's health took a turn and he and Mum sought out medical advice as to why Dad had a sudden loss of motor function. Mum and Dad soon found themselves having to sell the hotel due to Dad being so ill. In 2010 Dad and Mum moved to Allambie Heights after Dad reluctantly retired from the hotel. He honestly would have spent his final days serving beer if he could have. While Dad was always known for his physical and mental toughness, his progressive illness caused his body to fail, even though his mind remained sharp for many years.
It was devastating to watch Dad succumb to his condition.
He lived out his final years at Scalabrini Nursing Home with Mum always by his side, her loyalty to him was unwavering and Dad passed away peacefully on 29th March 2020. Dad was formally diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy upon autopsy by Frontier Research Team (Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney).
Due to COVID-19 we have been unable to lay Dad to rest. Dad's funeral will be held on Tuesday 20th April 2021 at Rookwood Cemetery, Hawthorne Ave, Rookwood, NSW at 10:30am.