The Terry family are a multigenerational pioneering family of Outback Queensland. Their story starts with Alexander Terry; grandfather of Simon Terry – who currently owns and operates Cobbold Gorge and Village with his wife Gaye and their children Harry, Emma and Annie.
Alexander Terry was a cattleman from the Burdekin district who became interested in the Western Downs cattle country after a cattle tick plague decimated the family’s herd on the coast. As a result, his family turned to sheep grazing in the Hughenden district. His son Cob (Simon’s father), was born in Hughenden and grew up on Dalmuir, south-west of Hughenden.
Cob’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 (pictured here) and his father Alexander began stock dealing – buying and selling sheep and cattle. It was this change of direction that took Cob down the road where he met his future wife, Mary Brosnan (of Lucerne, a sheep station north of Richmond – also pictured here with Cob), and later purchased Robin Hood Station.
Robin 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 great deal of time was spent cattle 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 searching 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 Station to his eldest son Edward (Eddie), who by then had already taken on the responsibility of running the property. When Eddie Clark retired, his son Teddie took over the property.
That’s when the Clark family met the Terry family. Cob Terry was on a cattle buying trip in the Georgetown area when he met Teddie Clark. Teddie was interested in selling up and Cob asked for the first offer; it was accepted and the Terry family purchased Robin Hood Station in 1964. After having a succession of managers in place, Cob and Mary Terry 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 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 many times over the years, but its isolated location on the south-western extremity of the station meant it was mostly left undisturbed. Those who did visit Cobbold Creek, didn’t seem to venture beyond its junction with the Robertson River as the sheer sandstone walls and deep water formed a natural barrier.
It wasn’t until the early 1990s, that 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 – 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. Around 1994 they commenced running tours out of Georgetown and then developed a camping area. Accommodation units were acquired from the Sydney 2000 Olympics site and from the closure of the Kidston Gold Mine in 2002/03.
Cobbold Village continues to evolve and we’re always excited to provide more modern luxuries, including the wonderful infinity pool, licensed bar and bistro and accommodation, plus of course, Australia’s first fully glass bridge, installed in 2019.
From its very beginning, and to this day, the main criterion of Cobbold Gorge Tours and Cobbold Village is that the operation be conducted with minimum impact on the environment. 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 Department of Environment and Resource Management. It established the 4,720-hectare Cobbold Gorge Nature Refuge, which protects a number of vulnerable and rare plant species and forms important wildlife corridors and catchment linkages.
As you can see, the Terry family and Cobbold Gorge are all intrinsically linked, steeped in family history and tradition. Cobbold Gorge Tours and Cobbold Village are open during the ‘dry season’ from 1 April (or Easter if earlier) until 31 October annually. It’s closed between November and March, as the roads become impassable during the ‘wet season’.
© Cobbold Gorge 2023