Historical information

Robin Kelly was born Robin Vandersluys in Mary Street, Kew. As a child, she sang in backyard concerts run with her brother, Leslie. The family moved to Deepdene in 1949 and Robin joined church and school choirs. Later she was to study classical singing with Stella Power, modern singing with Jack White, TV Presentation with Natalie Raine of Crawford Productions and acting/singing with Jessie Matthews. Following her victory in a talent quest at the Orama Ballroom, she was invited to join the Orama Big Band with singers Harry Cox and Arlene Forrest. She also sang with the Kerm Jones Jazz Band at Power House and with Frank Johnson's Jazz Band at Jazz Junction. Robin became resident band vocalist at the historic Federal Hotel in Collins Street with the Rudi Laquer Trio. She also sang at The Savoy Plaza with the George Cadman Trio. A year later she became resident vocalist at the Ress Oriental Hotel with the Lennie Holmes Trio. Later, Robin married pianist Peter Jones, singing under the name 'Robin Vanser' in clubs in Sydney and regional New South Wales. She was booked for a Vietnam War tour and also sang in Tahiti. Returning to Melbourne, her agent booked her to appear in shows in Tasmania including West Point Casino and Melbourne country venues. Another agent, John Bishop, booked her to do floor shows in Melbourne, including Xmas Seasons at the Hampton Hotel where she entertained audiences with her comedy and audience participation routines. In 1971, Robin Kelly retired to run her Robin Hood Antiques business in Canterbury, during which time she was married to tenor Glenn Kelly. Later she joined Sing Australia Camberwell Choir, performing as a soloist at their Melbourne Town Hall Concert.


The Vandersluys-Kelly Collection of photographs, costumes and musical performance memorabilia was donated to the Kew Historical Society by Robin Denise Kelly in 2018. The collection is an important record of stage and recorded performances in Australia in the second half of the 20th century. This new nationally-focused and artistically significant collection augments and contextualises the local performing arts materials in our collection.

Physical description

DVD (Disk 1) of a performance by Sing Australia Camberwell including a track featuring Robin Kelly singing What a Wonderful World.