A tribute to...

Rosemary Ann Nin (nee Robertson)

Published: 5/12/2022

11-12-1947 - 19-11-2022

A FEARLESS trailblazer of the '70s, inspirational, independent and strong, hotel manager Rosemary Ann Nin, of Montville in Queensland, has left those who knew and loved her, too soon.

For Rosemary, mother to Jordi, mother-in-law to Hannah and grandmother to Ester (3), life was about being courageous, working hard and enjoying the rewards with her family.

Those rewards often came in the form of gastronomical delights inspired by her time in Tasmania, an era where she infused her passion for food and entertaining into a string of successful tenures, with Cradle Mountain's Lemonthyme Lodge, Meehan's Restaurant, Moorilla Estate Winery and The Bay Hamper in Hobart among her favourites.

But perhaps her most defining moment was managing the country's first legal casino outside of Tasmania, in Alice Springs - which in the early '80s was a brave move, considering she was the first woman to take on that role in Australia.

Yet she led the charge, forging a brilliant career while working as a single mother to give her son a fine education and instil in him the strong work ethic that saw her life blossom in a new country.

Born in Hereford, England, in 1947, Rosemary completed a Diploma of Hotel Management at the Birmingham College of Food and Domestic Art.

After completing her course, she bought a one-way ticket to Australiain in 1976, leaving behind the cold, dark winters of her homeland for a land of sunshine and opportunity.

Her love of food took her to Melbourne, where she lived for a short time before her career with the Federal Hotel Group saw her land a position in Wrest Point, Tasmania.

Soon after, she embarked on her first major success, taking on a male-dominated profession, as General Manager of the Alice Springs Casino.

Here she oversaw 140 rooms, two restaurants, cocktail bar, convention room, cabaret room, gaming floor plus extensive gardens, working all day and well into the night to make the casino the pinnacle of hospitality.

But maybe her biggest challenge was the high-rollers at the five-star venue, including the colourful big-punter Kerry Packer. Her son Jordi remembers stories of his mother having to telephone bank managers before allowing many famous Australian characters of the time to up the stakes.

Rosemary's love of food and the challenge of sourcing only the best culinary delights from both Australia and overseas was well known and led to her next venture.

Her popular delicatessen, The Bay Hamper, saw the avid foodie begin importing special foods into Hobart, opening a whole new world to the local scene. Her high standards meant food was always a celebration.

Here she worked with local producers in the '80s and '90s to promote and demonstrate Tasmanian foods to interstate chefs.

Rosemary also set up a network of suppliers of fine cheeses and meats and general foods throughout Australia and Europe.

The Bay Hamper became a media magnet for European and Japanese television cooking shows and was featured in multiple publications including A Food Lover's Guide to Tasmania, Belle, Vogue Entertaining, House and Garden and Gourmet Traveller.

She passed her work ethic down to Jordi and his wife Hannah, now successful hotel managers in Queensland, and who Rosemary enjoyed working alongside over the past 10 years.

Jordi says Rosemary was more than happy to work a 75- hour week in high heels, her swollen ankles testament to her stoic determination.

But it was not all hard work and late nights.

A happy childhood, spent bushwalking in Tasmanian rainforests, hunting for saffron- topped mushrooms, exploring Cradle Mountain and living amongst the vines of Moorilla Estate where he became known as the "vineyard kid", are some of Jordi's most treasured memories.

He says Rosemary, although firm, was much-loved by staff and a good judge of character.

Known to mentor those who were not on a good path, she helped guide young people who were willing to work, taking them under her wing.

Her family admired her commitment and desire to always be the best mother she could be.

Not one to mince her words, Rosemary believed life was not easy and there were plenty of tough decisions to be made along the way. Jordi says she taught him the secret to success was the ability to make those tough decisions.

Rosemary concluded her working life as Resident Manager at Central Brunswick Apartment Hotel, Fortitude Valley, Queensland and spent her retirement years enjoying a quiet life in the family home at Montville, on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

She passed away peacefully, surrounded by loved ones, after a short battle with cancer.

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