He served as the chairman of the Australian Telecommunications Commission from 1986 until 1991. He also head the Overseas Telecommunications Commission, which later became known as Telstra. Robert Somervaille born in Strathfield, NSW. Somervaille planned to study law until World War 2 intervened.
He later joined Hill Samuel, now the Macquarie Group.
He died on 14 April 2008, at the age of 86.