Dr. EDMUND CHARLES HOBSON, M.D.


[Dr. Edmund C. Hobson]

Edmund Charles Hobson was born at Parramatta, New South Wales on 10 August 1814, the son of Edmund Hobson of the Commisariat and his wife Malvina (nee Luttrell). About 1816 he was sent to Van Diemen's Land to be raised by his maternal grandparents, Edward Luttrell, Surgeon General, and his wife Martha ( nee Walter). He was baptised in January 1820 in Hobart, Van Diemen's Land.

In Van Diemen's Land he studied for some years under Dr. James Scott, R.N., Colonial Surgeon at Hobart Town, from whom he acquired much and varied information.

About 1836 he sailed for England to complete his education. Over the next few years his studies took him from his base in London to places such as Paris, France and Edinburgh, Scotland. He also studied at the University College in London under Professor Robert Grant. His medical qualifications were obtained from the University of Erlangen in Bavaria.

On 27 September 1838 he married Margaret Adamson at St. Mark's Parish Church, Kennington, Surrey, England. Margaret was the daughter of John Adamson, merchant, and his German-born wife. The newly married couple sailed from London on 13 October 1838 on the "Appoline" and arrived at Hobart, V.D.L. on 12 March 1839. On 1 April 1839, while his wife Margaret stayed with Philip Russell and his family at Bothwell, V.D.L., Edmund sailed with Lady Franklin and her entourage on the "Tamar" for Port Phillip where they commenced an overland expedition from Melbourne to Sydney, New South Wales. Included in Lady Franklin's party was her cousin and constant companion, Miss Sophia Cracroft; Captain William Moriarty; the Hon. Henry Elliot; 2 servants ( Mr. and Mrs. Snatchall ); the driver of the cart ( a convict named Sam Shelldrake); 2 mounted police, and a constable from Hobart to look after the horses.

On arriving at Melbourne on 4 April 1839 Dr. Hobson was hoping to meet his younger brother, Edward William Hobson, whom he had not seen for 4 years. However his brother had departed from Melbourne two hours earlier for his property at Arthur's Seat. A native, sent after him on horseback, was able to catch up to him and bring him back to Melbourne. At 6.00 am the next morning Dr. Hobson and his brother both left for Arthur's Seat where they stayed overnight and returned to Melbourne the following afternoon. By this time Lady Franklin's group had already left so the following morning Dr. Hobson and brother rode after them. At 10 miles from Melbourne they arrived at Mr. Darlot's temporary stock station. They then proceeded on to Mr. Thorneloe's station where they caught up with Lady Franklin's party. At this point Dr. Hobson's brother headed back to Melbourne. The main party departed the next morning ( 8 April 1839 ) at 7.30 am and arrived at Mr. Thom's station by 11.00 am. They then proceeded over a range of hills and arrived at Messrs. Powlett and Green's station.

The next day, two horses escaped causing a delay in getting started. On arriving at Mr. Mundy's station, Dr. Hobson and a companion went hunting for specimens. When they returned the main party had already left but they were able to catch up with them later in the day at Mr. Hamilton's station.

The following day they headed off for the Goulburn River which they reached at about 5.00 pm. At Mr. Clark's property there was a punt and a ford. The party rested the next day and early on the morning of the 12th April they crossed the Goulburn River - the baggage going on Mr. Clark's punt and the horses and carts by fording. Thirty miles further on they arrived at the third of Seven Creeks. Dr. Hobson, who was in the habit of travelling on foot while looking for specimens, became temporarily separated from the main party and it is after dark before he located them.

The next day they arrived at Honeysuckle Creek and halted at 2.00 pm after having travelled 12 miles. Next day they arrived at the Broken where they sheltered from heavy rain in a mounted police hut, then under construction. This was the place of the Faithfull massacre and where Major Mitchell had crossed. After drying out they set off next day across 12 miles of flat land before the land began to rise. Miss Cracroft's horse took fright, throwing her violently and injuring her head. She was placed in a light cart until they stopped at Reedy Creek.

They proceeded slowly the next day over flat ground until arriving at the Ovens River at 4.00 pm. Here Dr. Hobson and a companion went hunting for specimens. They were concerned about meeting hostile natives so watches were placed at night. Next morning they covered 18 miles of flat land before ascending to 600 to 700 feet. They arrived at the Rocky Water Holes, 2 miles past Springhurst at 4.00 pm. and set up camp. Next day they began to descend after 11 miles, and after crossing two difficult creeks ( one being the Indigo Creek ) they arrived at Mr. Hume's station. A few days later, Dr. Hobson left the main party and headed for Sydney and returned to V.D.L.

Back in Hobart, Dr. Hobson began practice as a general practitioner. He also joined up with a few others to found the 'Tasmanian Society for the Advancement of Natural Science in Australia.' However, in 1840 Dr. Hobson became ill and it was decided to move to Port Phillip to seek a warmer climate. Dr. and Mrs. Hobson sailed in the "Lord Sidmouth" for Melbourne, arriving on 5 July 1840.

Though he was a doctor by profession he spent much of his time touring the Port Phillip District and collecting specimens of animals, birds, plants, rocks, etc., some of which he sent to Professor Richard Owen in England. He also wrote numerous articles for the "Tasmanian Journal" on subjects such as the platypus, kangaroos, etc.

His father-in-law, John Adamson, was a broker in London who received consignments of wool from Australia from such firms as the Clyde Company until his death in the mid 1840s.

Dr. Hobson was involved in the founding of the Melbourne Hospital though he died shortly before it opened.

He died at his residence, "Bona Vista", Kensington Road, South Yarra on 4 March 1848, several days after having ruptured a blood vessel in his lungs. He was buried at the Old Cemetery where a large monument was erected over his grave. His remains and the monument were later moved to the Pioneer Section of the New Melbourne Cemetery at Fawkner.

[Dr. Hobson's Monument]

Dr. Edmund C. Hobson and his wife Margaret had four children:

1. John Edmund Hobson was born on 30 September 1840 in the Port Phillip District and was baptised on 22 September 1843 in the Presbyterian Church. He drowned on 27 December 1870 in the River Yarra at Richmond, near Melbourne. He was buried in the Old Melbourne Cemetery.

2. Edward Grant Hobson was born on 12 February 1843 in the Port Phillip District and was baptised on 22 September 1843 in the Presbyterian Church. He died on 24 May 1860 in the Rectory, Kelvedon Hatch, Essex, England.

3. Amy Elizabeth Hobson was born on 18 September 1845 in the Port Phillip District. She was baptised on 18 October 1848 in St. James Church of England, Melbourne, Port Phillip District. She died on 6 November 1866 at South Norwood, near London, England.

4. Charles Perry Hobson was born on 8 August 1847 in the Port Phillip District. He was baptised on 18 October 1848 in St. James Church of England, Melbourne, Port Phillip District. He died on 18 July 1923 at "Newells", Kooyong Road, Caulfield, Melbourne, Victoria. He married firstly in 1865 in Eastbourne, England to Miriam Kate Delves. He married secondly in 1890 at South Yarra, Victoria, Australia, to Arabella Osborn. The children from his first marriage were:
1. Miriam Mary Hobson, b.1866, d.1941, married 15 November 1888 at St. Martin's Church of England, Hawksburn, Victoria, Australia to Thomas Colin Sharp.
2. Amy Hobson, b.1868, married 24 October 1888 at St. Peter's Church, Eaton Square, London, England to Charles Kingsley Milbourne.
3. Catherine Hobson, b.c1870, d. February 1876 at Dunster House, South Yarra, Victoria, Australia.
4. Charles Edward Hobson, b.c1871, d.1924 in Ascot Vale, Victoria, Australia.
5. Margaret Hobson, b.c1872.

An unsigned oil painting of Dr. Hobson is held by the State Library of Victoria. He was a relative of the Captain William Hobson after who Hobson's Bay is named.

[Monument Detail]

Contributed by Alexander Romanov-Hughes ( PPPG Member No. 52 )


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