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From riches to ruin: Master Mariner G F Goble

April 26, 2019

Master mariner G F Goble was singled out as one of four potential residents deserving of ‘special consideration’ to enter the Old Colonists’ Association’s Homes in 1883 by George Coppin.

“A most poor man, made tame by fortune blows; Who by the art of known and feeling sorrows, Am pregnant to good pity.”

So wrote George Coppin to the Editor of The Argus about the riches-to-ruin fortunes of master mariner Captain G F Goble.

Captain Goble, according to the letter, was the oldest living colonist of Victoria. He left England with the Henty brothers in 1892 and assisted in hoisting the British flag on the coast of Victoria in 1830.

“The natives killed two of his men, and he was also wounded,” we learn from the letter.

Goble was in Tasmania when the Henty Brothers sailed for Portland Bay. He supplied the Hentys with provisions and had extensive business transactions with the pioneer settlers.

Goble was present at the first land sale in Melbourne and purchased land. Shortly afterward, he visited Europe and America where he bought The Portland,returning to Australia in her and for many years traded from Port Phillip.

His fortunes began to turn in 1852 when he visited England during which time the American War broke out. He became involved in running the blockade. During this time, he ‘fell into the hands of the federals’ and was completely ruined.

His return to Victoria saw him apply to the Old Colonists Home which had been ‘established for the reception of poor and distressed old colonists.’

Coppin’s letter was an appeal to the Editor to write an editorial encouraging more ‘old colonists who are so greatly indebted for their enormous wealth to the courage, risks and privations of our pioneers’ to donate.

“It is very sad that there are so many deserving applicants to fill up one vacancy, tha the accommodation of the home is so limited, and that the association cannot extend its operations for the want of funds,” he tells the Editor.

Goble was admitted to the Homes in 1883 when he was in reasonable health. Sadly within three years, he was declared insane and was sent to the lunatic asylum.[1]

[1]Minute Book, 28 April 1899.

Caption: George Fredrick Goble (on the right) seated next to James Henty. Taken in Launceston circa 1880.

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