Robert O’Brien was born in New Zealand and arrived in Australia with his parents in 1888. After a teaching career in Brighton and Rutherglen he became the first headmaster of the Bell Street Primary School.
O’Brien was to maintain an excellent success rate whilst headmaster at school, having a 100% success rate for matriculation for twelve consecutive years.
As well as teaching, O’Brien was a strong advocate for the establishment of a children’s library in Preston as well as promoting the arts. Several works commissioned by O’Brien were hung in the Christian Brothers’ College in Bundoora.
Preston Historical Society (1968). Brief biographies of prominent Preston People. Preston, Vic: Author.