In 1895, Robert H Dean was a shipping agent for the Adelaide Steamship Company and a wharfinger; he was in charge at the Hampton Plains Company jetty at Castletown, as well as being the official customs officer.
When the town jetty was built, Robert H Dean worked in the customs house office which stood near the entrance of the jetty. The goods unloaded from the ships were stored in the goods shed. The customs office then moved into the goods shed in a section of which dutiable goods could be kept in bond.
Robert held ten acres (4.05ha) of land in the garden area (Pink Lake) with a residential block on Pink Lake Road.
Nell Kemp arrived from Adelaide to Esperance the passengers landing in boats because there was as yet no jetty where sailing hips could tie up. Nell, and Sisters Lillian and Kathleen along with their parents Walter and Kate Kemp established a business in Dempster Street next to the Police station.
They named their building, a single storey shed like structure of corrugated iron the ‘‘Esperanza” which provided meals and some accommodation. The sleepy little town of Esperance was in the midst of a gold rush and businesses were springing up to accommodate the growing population. The family provided a sociable, homely atmosphere and patrons could borrow books of good quality and enjoy evenings singing at the piano.
Robert Dean married Nell Kemp. They had a common interest in music, Nell played the piano, and Robert played the flute. He played in the town band. Robert H. Dean was secretary of the Esperance Agricultural, Horticultural and Floral Society, and the Esperance Cricket Association. Robert Dean was secretary of the Esperance Roads Board in 1907.
Robert Dean died in Esperance on the 4 Th April in 1921 at the age of 58, he is buried in the Esperance cemetery. Nell Dean moved to Norseman a few years after the death of her husband and is buried in the cemetery there.
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