Anglo-Catholic priest, bon vivant, more than occasional painter, perpetual mould-breaker, Robert's life in Adelaide, Alice Springs & Melbourne (with furious forays to Sydney & the world) packed in adventures that thousands of his contemporaries could never emulate.
Having an older sister (the redoubtable Auntie Jan) he was bought up in Adelaide's western suburbs &, coming from working class respectability, won a scholarship to St Peter's College, from thence he headed to studies (BA, ThL) & the priesthood.
Though he left the cloth he never quit the faith, & was known to take the sacraments with vigour (particularly towards the end of his life). Robert loved the liturgy, but the grind of parish work seemed a touch beyond his perpetual tolerance. (He confessed he wasn't much chop with weddings though he admitted to giving an excellent funeral.) So he became a tobacconist, a tapestry salesman, a public servant & a teacher of English as a second language.
A thin, sprightly, dark complexioned man with a large hooked nose, moustache & beard, Robert looked like an animated icon. His heroes included Mae West, Jean-Paul Satre, John Wilmot Earl of Rochester & St. Mary of Egypt. He barracked for Charles the first in the English Civil War & Gough Whitlam in 1975 (Gough received a telegram ... in latin!)
An enthusiastic dope smoker Robert invented the terms 'exo' for the substance & 'exodendritic' for its effect (Its basis : ancient Greek for being out of ... your tree!)
Like messages in bottles these words have been placed, somehow, in the language (for example Alan Wearne's verse novel 'The Nightmarkets' & a Topical Taps column in an early 1980s edition of Truth newspaper.)
He loved the novels of Jane Austen & the poetry of Frank O'Hara; he once wrote two poems ... in french! Music? Anything from Jean-Baptiste Lully to Bob Marley; from Brahms to the works of the man he referred to as Mr Michael Jagger from the Butterfly Lover's Concerto to Om Kalsoum to (god help us!) The Bushwackers!
He was a man whose languid bonhomie disguised very little : he loved meeting people & knowing people. For over a decade he held court in the Melbourne suburbs of St Kilda & Prahran; but reports have it that Robert had been holding court since his schooldays.
He was bi-sexual, though his probable preference lay - to coin a phrase - with men. With a later adult life happening to coincide with the aids pandemic Robert's enthusiastic proclivities meant he hardly stood a chance.
He never tried to conquer the world, but wished to embrace as much of it as he could.
He was survived by Faye Plamka (an illustrator who was both his first & third wife) their daughters Anna-Francesca Florence Euphrosyne (now a jeweler & painter) & Aphra Ariadne Ruby Thalia (now a stone mason), his long term companion Anni & countless friends