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Pioneering pastoralist Francis Cobbold contributes two cottages

June 19, 2019

Pioneering pastoralist Francis Edward Cobbold was an adventurous soul. He and his second wife Beatrice endowed two cottages at the Rushall Park village. The Cobbold Cottages were built in honour of their sister, Mrs. Jane Cain, the widow of well- known Melbourne identity William Cain, close friend and business partner of Cobbold.

Cobbold was born in Suffolk, England, in 1853.  Francis Edward Cobbold came to Australia in 1868, leaving for a while to spend two years in Fiji as a trader. After four years, local animosity, cannibalism, and typhoons convinced him his future was more secure back in Australia, and he returned to Queensland.

There he established a successful business partnership with Patrick O’Brien, which lasted for 17 years, through gold rush land grabs, droughts and floods.  O’Brien, Cobbold and Co.  leased, owned and ran multiple properties in the remote Gulf Country.

At age 36 he married his first wife, Elizabeth Fulford; there were no children of this marriage. Elizabeth died in 1889 aged 28 years, on the same day as her father-in-law.  In 1902, aged 49, Francis married his second wife, Beatrice Sarah, who died aged 80 and is buried with her husband, Francis, in the Boroondara cemetery at Kew, Victoria, in the Wesleyan section, grave no:1005.

The first person to reside in the Cobbold Cottages was Miss Kate Alley who was admitted to the Homes in January 1930. Later in the same year the cottage was occupied Miss Isabella Fraser. One of the early residents of the cottages was Stella Parker, who broke two washbasins by dropping heavy glass bottles into them. She apologised to the Superintendent and thanked him for replacing the washbasins, but was advised that any further breakages necessitating replacement of the washbasins would be at her expense.

No further breakages were reported.

·       Source material from Anne Jeffery’s memoirs.

“Our home has always been a place where family and friends are welcome.  Our cottage at Rushall Park is no different and the community of friends here is important to us and that’s why their work is part of my art box,” Jennifer Barden said.

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