Notable South Australians/Joel Roberts
IS of Yorkshire descent, and in early life associated with the woollen industries of Huddersfield. Arrived here by the brig "Arab" in August, 1843, and immediately entered upon sheep farming, which he pursued for some years. On leaving the country he settled in business in the city, and took considerable interest in establishing the Mechanics' Institute, which developed into the South Australian Institute, recently divided into the Public Library and Circulating Library. For several years he was actively engaged in mining ventures, especially in searching for coal. The discovery of gold in Victoria having stopped mining enterprise in South Australia, he went to West Australia, and started business at Perth for a short period. Returning to this colony he entered into manufacturing pursuits at Thebarton and Hindmarsh, until failing health compelled him to rest for a time. He next commenced business in Adelaide as a land and commission agent, being one of the earliest licensed brokers under the Real Property Act, and one of the oldest members of the Exchange. In former years, when the contest was waged in regard to State Aid to Religion, he warmly espoused its abolition. He has one son, James P. Roberts, in business in Adelaide.