Power, Robert (1794–1869), army officer and surveyor general of Van Diemen's Land, was born at Knockbrit, near Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, second son of Edmund Power, merchant, JP, and editor of the unsuccessful Clonmel Gazette, and Ellen Power (née Sheehy). His elder sister was the author Marguerite Gardiner (qv), countess of Blessington. Educated locally, he entered the Leitrim militia as an ensign, and in September 1812 volunteered to serve with a regular army regiment, the 91st Foot. Promoted to lieutenant in the 73rd Foot in 1815, he later transferred to the 20th Foot. In 1817 he was promoted to captain; he resigned from the army in 1823.
He initially worked as an agent on the estates of Lord Tyrone, and in 1829 inherited £1,000 from the will of his late brother-in-law, the earl of Blessington. Despite this inheritance, he was soon in financial difficulty as he had to support his own wife and children, a younger sister, and his ageing father. In 1837 he received more financial aid from his sister, Lady Blessington, and in 1838 was appointed as deputy commissioner of crown lands and deputy surveyor general of New Brunswick. After the resignation of his superior in 1840, he was passed over for promotion and, despite a recommendation from the lieutenant-governor that he be attached to the Irish or colonial police services, was sent by the Colonial Office to Van Diemen's Land.
Arriving in Hobart in June 1841, he was appointed surveyor general in July. His period in office coincided with a programme of reductions in Colonial Office spending. The trigonometrical survey programme had been temporarily stopped and many of the government surveyors found themselves working on contract for civil engineering companies. Power had to work as commissioner for crown lands and was not paid for these duties. He also had a bad relationship with Lieutenant-Governor Denison, who blamed Power's reorganisation of the land lease system for much of the disorganisation and discord in the surveyor general's department. A new surveyor, H. C. Cotton, was placed in charge of the trigonometrical survey when it was resumed, and this reduced Power to being a mere cipher in his own department. Under continual pressure to resign, he had agreed to do so in December 1855 when Denison was transferred to New South Wales. With this cause of tension removed, he remained as nominal head of the department until July 1857, when he retired on a pension of £175 (later increased to £300) a year.
In November 1857 he was appointed serjeant-at-arms of the Tasmanian house of assembly, and in July 1866 was appointed as usher of the black rod. He died 15 February 1869 in Hobart. In 1823 he married Agnes (née Brooke); they had two sons and two daughters. His eldest son, Charles John Power, a lieutenant in the Madras army, died in Singapore in November 1844.