"He is small and thin but you will find him active" said a reluctant Arthur Thomas Cobbold to the Captain of the Ann Duthie when he apprenticed his 14 year old son in 1867. This passage on a wool clipper to Australia set the direction, and his physique the achievements of F E Cobbold's life. As a Fijian trader he escaped the cannibals and the Levuka hurricane to arrive in Australia in 1873.
He quickly became a highly sought after ranch manager, forged strong business relationships based on his absolute integrity and became a qualified Surveyor. Despite problems which would have defeated a less resolute man F E (as he was known) took droughts, cheats, liars, bankers and unyielding land tenure regulations in his stride. He married Bessie Fulford in 1890 but alas she died only eight years later on the same day as his father.
He persisted tirelessly spending days in the saddle which gave rise to his lifelong love of horse racing. A partnership with F E's brother in law William Cain was profitable to both parties and by 1901 he had married Beatrice Child. The hard work and shrewd decision making continued and they prospered. Some more time was given to his racing interests, "The Brilliant Conquistador" having his best season ever in 1914/15. The purchase of the huge Hughenden sheep station and the further acquisition of Yarram Park at the foot of the Grampions did nothing to reduce the amount of travelling.
Beatrice longed for a home where she could settle and this she accomplished in South Yarra. Active and energetic to the last F E died in 1935 without children. After some legacies to family members and a life interest to Beatrice he left the residue of his estate to The Royal United Kingdom Beneficent Association to provide annuities for needy Suffolk residents. Beatrice died in 1951 and annuities have been paid from the F E Cobbold Trust fund ever since. RUKBA is now Independent Age. In their accounts published at the end of 2004 the F E Cobbold Trust had a value of £9.9million. It is the largest bequest the charity has ever received.
Note: The Cobbold FHT has F E Cobbold's original portrait and a typescript biography
Anthony Cobbold 2006