keith hero

Vale Keith Robinson

The residential building industry farewells Past President Keith Robinson, a man who stood by HIA’s side from the very beginning.

19 November 1927–12 July 2019


Kate Veteri

The residential building industry mourns the loss of Keith Robinson, a true gentleman, who demonstrated great passion for his profession. 

Keith was unique in his ability to see the good in those around him, and took pride in the industry he worked in for over 60 years. 

Keith started his career as a carpenter in the 1940s, and as the residential building industry grew, so too did his passion for the work he loved. The industry’s growth led to the evolution of the Housing Industry Association in 1946, from a then humble Victorian assembly known as the Builders and Allied Trades Association (BATA). 

First a member, Keith elevated his involvement with HIA when he joined the State Executive Committee in 1978. He then continued his much valued affiliation to become Victorian President between 1982 and 1986, before serving as National President from 1993 to 1995. He was also a director of the National Board from 1991 to 1997. 

keith with MD

Past National President, Stuart Wilson, presents Keith Robinson with the Sir Phillip Lynch Award in 2013.


In 2013, Keith told HOUSING, ‘It was a wonderful industry when I joined it as a youngster in the old days and it’s still a wonderful industry today’.

Long after his retirement he continued to take part in HIA events and functions, demonstrating his commitment to the Association. 

Keith was known as a man who always looked towards the future, to identify new ways to improve the industry and the lives of those involved. He once reflected: ‘I doubt whether an apprentice carpenter today would be taught how to cut a roof, because they all arrive pre-cut. Technology has brought many improvements and made home building faster, safer and more versatile’.

His dedication to the future success of HIA and the broader industry will never be forgotten, and for this he was awarded life membership of HIA (1989) and the prestigious Sir Phillip Lynch Award (2013).

‘Keith always took time to talk to members, sharing their concerns, and providing support and advice,’ says Fiona Nield, Regional Executive Director – Victoria. 

keith group pic

(L–R): Keith attends the 2013 President’s Dinner with Past National Presidents: Peter Irving, Jill Lee, Peter Grigg, the late Don Kennett and the late Alec Fuller, Roger du Blet and Bruce Langford-Jones.

With his keen sense of selflessness, he also strived to make a lasting impact on Australians beyond the residential building industry. In 1986, Keith was appointed as the inaugural chair of the Victorian Homeless Fund (VHF), which was established to assist the homeless in a number of areas by building and renovating homes. 

In 2013, Keith said he was proud of the work VHF was doing. In particular, he was proud of the renovation of an old delicatessen at Flinders Railway Station in Melbourne that now acts as a crisis centre for homeless youth. 

‘I think people who build homes have a very sharp sense of what it means to not have a home, not to be able to have a roof over your head at night,’ Keith said. ‘In my experience most people are good and want to help out when they see a worthy cause.’

In dedication to Keith, one of the most recent homes built by VHF has been named in his honour. 

‘His passion and commitment for the Association and our industry will remain with us into the future,’ Fiona says.

HIA extends its sincere condolences to the Robinson family for their loss. 


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