Robert Broom Ridler was an Englishman, born in Devonshire in 1825. He arrived in Victoria in about 1852: 'A few days after landing he took a position as salesman with Mr. Butler in the shop which shortly afterwards became his own, at 67 Bridge Road, Richmond, near the corner of Union Street. Mr Butler sold the business to two partners, his brother Alexander and Ridler.' By 1856 Ridler was running the shop in his own name. John Hope notes that Butler was later treasurer of the Richmond Council. In 1857 Ridler married Sophia Wild, later having eleven children. According to Gardner, after 'many years' he built a shop at 185-187 Bridge Road. He sold his business to a Mr Brockman in 1877 and retired to a property near Dandenong, where he died in 1898. (Gardner)
From listings in Melbourne directories we can put some more specific dates to Gardner's story. Ridler is listed as the owner of a butchery on Bridge Road for the first time in 1858. Although he was listed erratically, it appears that he ran his butchery there until at least 1870, the end of the period covered in this survey. In 1860 and 1862 Thomas Ridler was listed instead of Robert. John Hope notes that the business at the corner of Union Street was roughly opposite Barrowclough's bookshop (see Barrowclough).
Ridler issued three penny tokens in 1862, possibly indicating that he had one or two small issues struck and he went back to Thomas Stokes for more tokens. Each issue had a different stock reverse, the Australian arms, Emu and rising sun, and Wheatsheaf respectively.
Gardner, F. (1911). 'Trade Tokens and the Firms who Issued Them', The Australian Storekeepers and Traders Journal. 30 November, p.10.
Sharples, J. (1993). 'Catalogue of Victorian Trade Tokens', Journal of the Numismatic Association of Australia. Vol. 7, December, p.71.
Melbourne Directories in the collection of the State Library of Victoria, 1851-1870.
Hope, John (2005). 'R.B. Ridler', unpublished MSS, 1pp.