Setback for young family

Before Charles Dobbs arrived in Boolburra, he lived both at Mt Morgan and Kabra.

House fire

The Morning Bulletin newspaper report of the incident.

Charles had met and married Elizabeth Aldridge in Mt Morgan where he was working with his future father-in-law Henry Aldridge.

Charles had arrived in Australia in 1888 with his parents William and Ann from Sheffield, England, where William was a brickmaker.

Charles and Elizabeth married in July 1896 and welcomed their first child, Elizabeth Helen (who was known as Nellie) in May 1897.

They had not long moved into a new house they’d built near Ganter’s Gully, Mt Morgan. Based on that description it must have been on or near the present day Ganter St, Mt Morgan.

Added to that, Dobbs St is nearby and that is presumably named for the family. As well, both streets are near Shandon Hill where Harry Coker lived.

Harry Coker was my grandfather Alex Dobbs Coker’s father but, of course, my Pop was raised by Charles and Elizabeth Dobbs.

The family’s dog apparently upset a lamp that led to a fire that quickly got out of control.

They had no insurance and the house and contents and lost everything which must have been devastating.

Following is a transcript of The Morning Bulletin report of the event:

A very serious fire occurred here on Wednesday evening last, resulting in the total destruction of a new house, together with the whole of the furniture, the property of Mr. C. Dobbs, who had only been living there a few months.

Large numbers of willing hands were soon on the spot, ready to lend their assistance, but nothing could be done, and they had simply to stand there powerless to help.

The house had been built on the top of the hill, near Ganter’s Gully, and as no water was available the work of destruction was completed in a very short time.

At the time of the fire Mr. Dobbs was at work at the new west works. His wife and little child were the only ones at home, and it took Mrs. Dobbs all her time to escape with the child. It is supposed that a dog upset the lamp, which set fire to the house.

The house and furniture were uninsured, and Mr Dobbs lost everything. Very general regret is expressed at his misfortune, and with a view to assisting him to make another start subscription lists are to be sent round.

MOUNT MORGAN. (1897, November 8). Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1878 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved July 28, 2021, from