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Collet Barker Dobson (1865–1936)

Mr. Collet Barker Dobson, prominent in Australian and New Zealand theatrical circles, died suddenly in his office at the Majestic Theatre, Adelaide, yesterday.

He was found in a state of collapse. The manager (Mr. Bert Lennon) immediately called in Dr. L. J. Fellew who found that Mr. Dobson was dead.

The late Mr. Dobson, who was 75, had been associated with the Fuller organisation for 26 years, first as a producer of dramas, and latterly as an assistant to Mr. Lennon.

A member of a distinguished New Zealand pioneering family, he was the youngest son of Mr. Edward Dobson, civil engineer and surveyor, of Christchurch. He entered his father's office but surveying did not appeal to him and he ran away, and went on the stage. He became an accomplished actor. In later years he produced dramas in New Zealand and Australia. He came to Adelaide 20 years ago.

His wife was Miss Meddings, daughter of the inspector-General of Telegraphs in New Zealand. A daughter, Miss Agnes Dobson, of St. Peters, survives. Miss Dobson has also been associated with the stage since childhood. The late Sir Arthur Dobson, of Christchurch, New Zealand, was a brother of Mr. C. B. Dobson, and a sister married Sir Julius von Haast, formerly Professor of Geology at Canterbury University. In 1886 Mr. Dobson was private secretary to Sir Julius von Haast when he went to England as Commissioner for New Zealand at the Colonial and Indian Exhibition.

He was a grand nephew of Captain Collet Barker, after whom Mount Barker was named.

"He was a wonderful friend and colleague, and I shall miss him very much; he came in quite cheerfully as usual at noon today," said Mr. Lennon last night. "I was often surprised at his wide knowledge of affairs other than the stage, and his wish that he might die in the theatre was dramatically fulfilled."

It is stated that Mr. Dobson's death was probably due to heart failure.

Plainclothes Constable E. J. Davis submitted a report to the City Coroner (Mr. Blackburn), who deemed an inquest unnecessary.

Original publication

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Dobson, Collet Barker (1865–1936)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


New Zealand


8 July, 1936 (aged ~ 71)
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

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