Grave fears for a mate who went walkabout

By JANE GARDNER jgardner@northernstar.com.au

POLICE and friends are fearing the worst for North Lismore man Robbie 'Bob the Builder' Nivison, who has been missing since January 30.

Robbie, 37, moved from his Peate Street home five months ago to work as a graphic designer in Brisbane after a one-year stint of unemployment.

On January 27, he left his rented flat in Ascot early in the morning and did not return. His bank card was used three days later in Alice Springs but his account has not been touched again.

His home phone and mobile phones have been disconnected and family and friends have not seen nor spoken to him since then.

Robbie's close friend of four years George Cockaigne, of Lismore, said he first heard Robbie had vanished five weeks ago.

"Apparently he took his little dog Basil to a friend's place and then disappeared," George said.

"He was always happy, very rarely depressed. I've been trying to ring his mobile but can't get through. When I spoke to him last (late last year), he was telling me how happy he was with his new tenant."

George said Robbie had gone on long drives in the past, so it did not surprise him he had surfaced in the Northern Territory, but it was completely out of his character to lose contact with friends.

"I'm hoping he has just decided to go for an unannounced long drive," he said.

Gaye Kelly pays private rent to Robbie to live in his well-kept North Lismore house. She said the last time she heard from him was January 14, when he text messaged her his new address.

She had sent several messages since then with no reply.

"When I text him, he normally replies or calls me straight back," she said.

"I have just been depositing my rent in his bank account every week but haven't heard anything from him."

Robbie was passionately involved in the community, as a member of the North Lismore Progress Association and a frequent letter writer to The Northern Star.

He ran for local council in 2004.

Robbie's brother Dougal Nivison, of Cooktown, said the family did not know why he was in the Northern Territory.

"That's a very good question, we have no idea," he said.

"That is just the last known place he was. His bank account was accessed up there and we think he sent letters to a friend in Lismore and a friend in Brisbane.

"We don't know how he got there. It's all a bit of a mystery. But if anyone has seen him in Alice Springs, could you please let us know. That would be fantastic."

Queensland and Northern Territory police hold grave concerns for Robbie and have released his photo, car registration and details to the media.

He was last seen driving a black Jeep NSW Rego AK 55 HL.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is urged to call the Queensland police on 131 444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.



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