cobrz-copyRobin Hood Station — supposedly named because it adjoined the Sherwood mining lease — was originally owned by the Clark family. James Clark, from Cornwall, England, immigrated to Australia and married Amelia Trigger from Townsville in 1866. They owned a hotel and billiard room at Percyville, about 25km from the present homestead, until 1901 when it is believed they took up Robin Hood.

A lot of time was spent mustering — no sooner was one muster over, the next one was ready to begin. The lack of fencing at the time meant the stockmen would spend lots of time looking for cattle in inhospitable and impassable country. Pack horses were used to travel back to the homestead to pick up fresh supplies before setting up camp in another location. In 1929 James Clark died, leaving Robin Hood to his eldest son, Edward, who by then had already taken on the responsibility of running the property. When Edward (Eddie) Clark retired, his son Teddie took over the property.

From cattle plague to sheep grazing

Cob Terry was born in Hughenden. His father, Alexander Terry, was a cattleman from the Burdekin district. Alexander became interested in the western downs cattle country after a cattle tick plague had decimated the family's herd on the coast. As a result, the family turned to sheep grazing and Cob grew up on Dalmuir, south west of Hughenden.

 DSC8613Cob's early years during the Great Depression saw him become a "jack of all trades”. By 17, he had his own horse team and was contract fire ploughing. In the late 1930s, Cob and his father began stock dealing — buying and selling sheep and cattle. It was this change of direction that would take Cob down the road where he met his future wife, Mary Brosnan (of Lucerne, a sheep station north of Richmond) and later purchased Robin Hood Station. Cob was on a cattle buying trip in the Georgetown area when he met Teddie Clarke of Robin Hood Station. Teddie was interested in selling up, and Cob asked for first offer. It was accepted and the Terry family purchased the property in 1964.

Robin Hood Station becomes home for the Terry family

After a succession of managers, Cob and Mary moved permanently to Robin Hood Station in 1971, together with their seven children. Simon, the youngest of the Terry children, was just a small child when he arrived at Robin Hood.

The south-western extremity of Robin Hood Station, the mouth of Cobbold Creek with its permanent clean water, was always a popular watering hole for cattle. The Clark and Terry families both visited the spot over the years but its isolated location on the edge of a 330,000 acre property meant that it was mostly left undisturbed.

An amazing discovery

Those who did visit Cobbold Creek did not seem to venture beyond its junction with the Robertson River — the sheer sandstone walls and deep water formed a natural barrier. It wasn't until the early 1990s Simon and two friends made the effort to take a small boat to the mouth of Cobbold Creek. They paddled up the creek and were amazed at what lay before them — the magnificent Cobbold Gorge.

Simon quickly recognised the potential of such a unique geological treasure and together with his wife, Gaye, decided to develop a tourism venture.

Cobbold Gorge Tours begins

Web

The main criterion was, and is to this day, that the operation be conducted with minimum impact on the environment. From humble beginnings of a basic camping area, toilet block and office, the infrastructure of Cobbold Gorge Tours has grown to include a licensed bar, restaurant and accommodation. Visitors take guided tours through the gorge on custom-made boats with virtually silent, electric motors.

In 2009, a nature refuge agreement was formalised with the Queensland's Department of Environment and Resource Management. It established the 4720-hectare, Cobbold Gorge Nature Refuge to protect a number of vulnerable and rare plant species and also forms important wildlife corridors and catchment linkages.