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Elderly man found dead in creek at Rose Bay Park in Gravelly Beach likely tripped on tree root

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Rose Bay Park, Gravelly Beach. Image / Elders

An elderly man found dead in a creek at a Tasmanian park last year likely tripped on a tree root and fell into the water, a coroner believes.

Robert John Robinson, 72, drowned at Rose Bay Park in Gravelly Beach after suffering a head injury that left him unconscious in August 2023.


Coroner Olivia McTaggart said Robinson lived alone in a granny flat and was known to take long walks in the Gravelly Beach area at various hours, including at night, following the death of his wife from cancer in 2022.

Authorities were alerted to Robinson’s disappearance on August 17 by his carer, two days after he was last seen, when he failed to return home.

Later that day, a man walking his dog discovered Robinson’s body lying face down in a creek, just 250 metres from his home.

Robinson was found in a tidal creek at Rose Bay Park. Image / Google

McTaggart suggested the most “plausible scenario” for Robinson’s death is that he fell into the creek from an unfenced gap on the embankment next to a footbridge over the water.

She said Robinson may have tried to grab onto a small tree to stop his fall, but the tree became uprooted and fell into the creek with him.

“It is possible that Mr Robinson struck his head upon the concrete pipe during his fall,” she said.


“It is also possible, but less likely, that Mr Robinson fell into the creek as a result of standing on the concrete pipe or as a result of over-balancing whilst leaning on the low footbridge rail.”

McTaggart said it may have been dark when Robinson fell and reduced visibility may have contributed to the circumstances.

“I am satisfied that his death was accidental and there were no suspicious circumstances,” she said.

While the exact circumstances of his fall and the precise time of his death remain undetermined, McTaggart has recommended that the West Tamar Council assess the safety of the footbridge and creek area at Rose Bay Park.

She said the council should implement any appropriate measures to enhance the safety of those using the park.

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