Captain Robert Towns was a merchant and an entrepreneur who had little formal education. He arrived in Sydney on 9 March 1843 aboard the ‘Seahorse’ and soon established himself as a mercantile agent. In 1844 Towns began investing in small ships with the acquisition of the ‘Elizabeth’ and moved to Walsh Bay.
Captain Robert Towms established a Whaling and trading empire for the site now known as Towns Place in Walsh Bay during the 1850’s and 60’s.
The following is a quote from the Australian Dictionary of Biography: “Towns was the incarnation of the puritan virtues of thrift, sobriety, industry and 'perseverance'. Bluff and peppery, with simple habits, he was respected by all for his honesty, reliability and especially for his energy and his 'never ending speculative spirit'. By many of his employees he was known as a cheese-parer, full of furious criticism for failure but few words of praise for success. 'A hard but a just master' was about the most flattering comment to come from an employee; it was one that would have pleased him.
For more on Captain Robert Towns see Australian Dictionary of Biography.