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Scobie, Robert (1831–1909)

We regret to record the death of Mr. Robert Scobie, one of the pioneers of the Hunter River district, which occurred at his residence, Oakhampton, on Friday, after a protracted illness, at the advanced age of 78 years. The deceased gentleman was a native of Stirlingshire, Scotland, where he was born in 1831. When only eight years old he arrived in New South Wales, his parents settling down in Maitland, where the father purchased the lease and goodwill of a 60 acre farm, which afterwards became the property of the family, and on which they continued to reside ever since. In 1851 the late Mr. Scobie became a partner in the business with his father. When the Scobie family arrived in Maitland, the farmers of the district had just commenced the formation of orchards and the cultivation of fruit and vegetables, and to this industry the firm of Messrs. M. and R. Scobie applied themselves with skill and perseverance in the face of many difficulties in the shape of floods and commercial depression, and eventually the whole of the 60 acres were brought under cultivation of fruit trees of almost every variety, grapevines and vegetables, until the garden became famous for the quality of its products, due to the care and attention constantly devoted to it. It was, in fact, one of the model orchards in the State. Although always a strenuous worker on the farm, Mr. Scobie found time to actively assist in the management of such institutions as the Maitland School of Arts and the Hunter River Agricultural Association. He was one of the first members of the School of Arts, and also of the Agricultural Association, in which he took great interest. He was a vice-president of the latter for many years, being first elected to the position in 1872, and he continued in the office with a few short breaks up till the time of his death. The Messrs. M. and R. Scobie were among the most successful exhibitors at all the annual shows of the association. The late Mr. Scobie was a Justice of the Peace, represented the old Hunter electorate in the State Parliament from 1889 to 1894, was a member of the old Road Trust for many years, and also a member of the Maitland Licensing Court. In public matters and more especially in the problem of flood mitigation in the Hunter he took a deep and active interest, and was very highly esteemed by a large circle of friends for his estimable qualities. Some few years ago he was prostrated with a painful illness, which rendered an operation necessary, but his naturally strong constitution enabled him to make a wonderful recovery, though he was never quite himself again. For some months he had been confined to his home through indisposition, but it was not generally known that his end was so near. He leaves a widow and family of 15 grown-up sons and daughters, thirteen of whom were present at his death-bed. Among the sons are Major J. W. Scobie and Captain Robert Scobie of the Fourth Australian Infantry Regiment. Wide spread sympathy has been extended to the widow and bereaved family in their sad affliction. The respect in which the late Mr. Robt. Scobie, senr., was held throughout the Maitland district was manifest on Sunday in the large concourse of mourners and sympathisers who took part in the mournful cortege. Deceased was widely known, and the gathering at the funeral obsequies was a thoroughly representative one, all classes of the community being present. The mournful procession left deceased's late residence yesterday afternoon at the appointed hour, and the body was conveyed to the Presbyterian Cemetery. East Maitland, where the interment was made, the Rev. A. S. McCook, B.A., officiating at the grave side. The chief mourners were Mr. Michael Scobie, Major J. W. Scobie, Captain Alex. Scobie (Junee), Captain Robert Scobie, Captain J. B. Scobie (Brewarrina) and Lieutenant W. H. Scobie (sons); Messrs. H. Kerr, W. T. Lindsay, and Jas. McGeachie, Charlestown (sons-in-law), Messrs. W. Scobie (brother), R. Ross (brother-in-law); J. Scobie (Newcastle), W. A. Ross, Bruce Ross, J. Johnstone, Charlie Scobie (Werris Creek), A. Gillon (Catherine Hill Bay), Jonathan and J. Payne (Newcastle), J. Cork and G. Williams (Minmi), R. Warren (Junee), W. Warren, J., A., and G. Warren (Newcastle), and Arthur Scobie (nephews); Bert, Wallace, Donald, Thomas, Clive and Frank Scobie, and Charlie, James, and Bob Kerr (grandsons). Numerous telegrams and messages of sympathy and floral tributes were received by the bereaved family expressive of sympathy and consolation in their sad affliction.

Original publication

Citation details

'Scobie, Robert (1831–1909)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/scobie-robert-18203/text29782, accessed 12 November 2019.

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