Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

George Cobb - Settler

Anambah - Map 2

James Cobb arrived in New South Wales in September 1820, he did not take up a promised a grant of 600 acres however opened a store in Sydney and became a merchant, establishing a branch at Launceston in 1825. [7] George Cobb arrived on the Minstrel in January 1822, a fellow passenger being J. P. Webber. [1]. Their brother John Cobb arrived on the Francis in September 1823 [6].

Land Grant

George Cobb was recommended for a grant of land by Lord Bathurst [4]. In correspondence dated 9th October 1822, he was informed that he would be granted 2000 acres of land in any part of the colony already surveyed and six convict were to be assigned to him, all of whom would be victualled from the Kings Stores for six months from the date of possession of the land.[2] On 23rd November 1822 he gained permission to proceed to Newcastle with his brother James on the Government sloop Sally. [3] He named the grant Anambah.

George Cobb's brother John Cobb resided at and farmed his brother's grant at Anambah[7]. A house was constructed there by John Cobb in 1828.

John and Maria Cobb's daughter Mary was born in 1827 followed by George in 1829, Adelaide in 1831, Alfred in 1833, John in 1835 and Joseph in January 1837 at Anambah.

Death of John Cobb

John Cobb died on 7th April 1840 aged 37 and Anambah was advertised for sale. The buildings mentioned in the advertisement were earlier constructions, not the one pictured below which was designed by architect John Wiltshire Pender and completed in 1889.

In 1840......The beautiful estate of Anambah situated on the River Hunter within four miles of West Maitland adjoining Windermere the estate of W.C. Wentworth and surrounded by those of Messrs Hobler, Pringle, Mitchell, Marshall, Hudson and others, and containing in the whole two thousand acres. The improvements made by the late Mr. John Cobb, during his residence of twelve years on the property are both extensive and useful. The buildings consist of a comfortable and neat Verandah Cottage, containing eight rooms, with kitchen, laundry, nursery, dairy, barns, stable, coach house, blacksmiths and carpenters shop, and other necessary buildings detached. Above one hundred acres of the ground is enclosed for tillage and forty acres now in wheat. The remainder is grazing land of the best description and well watered; there is also a garden in the front of the house, stocked with choice fruit trees. [5]

Maria Cobb

Maria Cobb remained at Anambah after her husband's death. In 1847 while walking alone in her garden one afternoon and although in perfect health, Maria was seen to fall down. Her daughter ran to see what had happened and was shocked to find her mother unconscious. An express was instantly sent into Maitland for Dr. David Sloan who galloped out to the property, however she was found to have already died. The cause of death given as apoplexy. She was 41 years old.


Anambah is listed at the Heritage Branch website - Mary, the daughter of original grantee George Cobb, married Francis White of Edinglassie in 1853 and 4 of their children were born at Anambah (in the earlier house.) These children later established Belltrees at Scone.

The Mackay family, relatives of Duncan Forbes Mackay, settler at Dungog, acquired both Anambah and Minimbah (at Singleton) from the Cobb family in the 1870's and built both the present Anambah and Minimbah houses. They also owned Redleaf House in Woollahra (now Woollahra Council Chambers).  Various famous people have stayed in the house, including Dame Nellie Melba (c1908) and Governors, the Earl of Dudley and Lord Gowrie. In the 1950s Anambah was the home of Hal Lashwood, one of the greats of Australian radio and during this period radio entertainers such as Roy Rene (Mo) and Jack Davey stayed in the house.

Anambah, Gosforth, NSW, Australia [1964]
Anambah, Gosforth. Architect John Wiltshire Pender

Notes and Links

Convicts Assigned to George Cobb:

Crawford, James - Phoenix 1826

Darlington, Richard - Princess Royal 1823

Foy, John - Isabella 1823


[1] Sydney Gazette 11 January 1822

[2] New South Wales, Australia, Colonial Secretary's Papers, 1788-1825 Series: (NRS 937) Copies of letters sent within the Colony, 1814-1825 Item: 4/3506 Page: 354

[3] New South Wales, Australia, Colonial Secretary's Papers, 1788-1825 Series: (NRS 937) Copies of letters sent within the Colony, 1814-1825 Item: 4/3506 Page: 464

[4] New South Wales, Australia, Colonial Secretary's Papers, 1788-1825 Series: (NRS 898) Special bundles, 1794-1825 Item: 4/1094 Page: 251

[5] The Colonist 17 September 1840

[6] New South Wales and Tasmania, Australia Convict Musters, 1806-1849 General Muster 1825: Class: HO 10; Piece: 19.

[7] Wood, W. Allan., Dawn in the valley : the story of settlement in the Hunter River Valley to 1833 Sydney : Wentworth Books, 1972., p.27