Family of Ian & Cath Jeanneret

SHOOBRIDGE, William Ebenezer

Person Chart


Father Date of Birth Mother Date of Birth
Shoobridge, William Ebenezer 04 FEB 1820 GIBLIN, Charlotte 1824

Person Events

Event Type Date Place Description
Birth 07 JAN 1846 'Glen Ayr', Richmond, Tasmania, Australia
Birth 07 JAN 1846 Glen Ayr, Richmond, Tasmania, Australia
Marriage 08 DEC 1869 Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Place of Residence 1914 Bushy Park, Tasmania, Australia
Place of Residence 1919 Bushy Park, Tasmania, Australia
Death 17 MAY 1940 Bushy Park, Tasmania, Australia
Burial Red Hills Cemetery, Bushy Park, Tasmania, Australia


SHOOBRIDGE, WILLIAM EBENEZER (1846-1940), politician, agriculturalistand industrial innovator, ROBERT WILKINS GIBLIN (1847-1936),agriculturalist and innovator, and LOUIS MANTON (1852-1939),agriculturalist, politician and Nature lover, were sons of EbenezerShoobridge (1820-1901), pioneer agriculturalist of Glenora and latermember of the Tasmanian Legislative Council, and his wife Charlotte,née Giblin. Grandsons of William Shoobridge, all three mirrored thepaternal pattern of agricultural innovation and participation in localand State government.
William was born on 7 January 1846 at his father's estate Glenayr,Richmond, Tasmania, and educated at Horton College, Ross. His study ofhydrostatics and engineering led to extensive new irrigationtechniques when, with his brother Robert, he took over the managementof the family's Bushy Park estate. He developed an irrigation systemfor hops and apples which overcame the dryness of the deep porous soiland allowed extensive cultivation of such hop varieties as Early WhiteGrape, Goldings, Green Grape and Red Golding. Over the period 1866-79the acreage trebled and the crop increased sevenfold, becoming thebasis of an important export industry. William further contributed tothe hop industry with his visit to the Saaz drying kilns in Bohemia in1905 and his subsequent construction of the first Saaz drying kiln inTasmania.
Within the apple industry Shoobridge encouraged production ofSturmers, Pippins and Nonpareils for the London market, developing the'cup' pattern technique of pruning the vigorous, irrigated crop; aschairman of the Derwent Valley Fruitgrowers' Association he oversawthe first significant export of 12,000 bushels in 1887. In 1892 hebecame the first president of the Tasmanian Agricultural Council.
Meanwhile his expertise as an irrigation engineer had earned him awide reputation; he was asked to plan waterworks on the Derwent andtributaries, and to design twenty other irrigation ventures includingthe 8000-acre (3238 ha) scheme at the Brock brothers' Lawrenny estate.His advice was formally sought by the Tasmanian and Victoriangovernments, although some of his more prophetic schemes for combininghydro-electric development with irrigation were disregarded. He wasnotable too as an early recorder of weather data in Tasmania.
A justice of the peace from 1878 and chairman of the Derwent RoadTrust, William was a lay reader in the Wesleyan Methodist Church andfor thirty-eight years a Sunday school superintendent. A member of theWorkers' Political League and the Australian Labor Party, he was Labormember for Franklin in the House of Assembly in 1916-19 and 1922-25and for Wilmot in 1925-28 and 1929-31. His experience as a paternalemployer in intensive smallholding production, mixed with a sincerereligiosity, produced a Utopian socialism: a vision of aself-supporting, industrialized 'Big Tasmania' benefiting all who in'any way by the exercise of their personal powers and faculties tooksome active part in the many processes of production'. His socialproductivism distanced him from the essentially conservative TasmanianLabor Party, from which he resigned in 1932, but his technicalexpertise was recognised by the Earle government which commissionedhim in 1914 to inquire into power and irrigation in Canada and theUnited States of America. This mission led to encouragement for theAustralian Wood Pulp & Paper Co. to establish an industry in Tasmania.
On 8 December 1869 in Hobart Town with Wesleyan forms William hadmarried Ann Benson Mather, granddaughter of Robert Mather. On hisdeath in Hobart on 17 May 1940 he was survived by their threedaughters and three sons.
Robert Shoobridge was born at Glenayr on 11 June 1847. Moving fromBushy Park, he took over Valleyfield estate near New Norfolk,producing an annual apple crop of 40,000 bushels. He had a particularinterest in cool storage: as president of the Fruitgrowers'Association he travelled to London with a cargo of apples, advising onstorage and critical temperatures, to establish standard shipboardconditions.
Locally a road trustee and municipal councillor, Robert wasresponsible for modernization of the New Norfolk water-supply system.He built the New Norfolk Cottage Hospital and promoted churchconstruction at Glenfern, Molesworth, Moonah and New Norfolk. He wasgovernment visitor to the New Norfolk Mental Asylum. Robert died inHobart on 13 May 1936, predeceased by his wife Annie Rebecca, néeCrouch, whom he had married in Hobart Town with Wesleyan forms on 7December 1871, and by five of their children. Five daughters survivedhim.
Louis Shoobridge was born at New Norfolk on 25 October 1851 andeducated at Somerset House School, Hobart Town. He too joined thefamily fruit-growing enterprise, eventually developing the FentonForest estate which expanded into the extensive Glenora estate on theStyx and Russell Falls rivers. Credited with experimenting on overfive hundred apple varieties, he attained export levels of 16,000bushels a year and like his brothers travelled to London to furtherthe export trade. He was president of the Agricultural Council, RoyalAgricultural Society, Tasmanian Farmers' and Stock Owners' Associationand the Australian Pomological Committee, as well as chairman of theNational Park Board and member of many other societies. He waspresident of the Melville Street Methodist Church and vice-presidentof the Protestant Alliance of Friendly Societies. As member forDerwent in the Legislative Council in 1921-37 Shoobridge promotedagricultural and regional interests.
Perhaps, however, his most enduring achievement stemmed from hisselection and preservation of fifty acres (20 ha) near the beautifulRussell Falls. The site was proclaimed part of an enlarged 300-acre(121 ha) reserve in 1885 and in 1917 was incorporated into the 27,000acre (10,927 ha) Mt Field National Park. With Alan Wardlaw Louis alsoplanted the Pioneer Avenue of trees between Hobart and Oatlands.
Louis married first, on 27 September 1876 with Wesleyan forms at NewTown, Amy (d.1878), daughter of Colonel Thomas Lidbetter of Bombay;second on 19 April 1882 at Hobart with Congregationalist forms, EstherKentish Charlotte, daughter of (Sir) Philip Fysh. Louis died in Hobarton 12 March 1939, remembered as a 'vital contributer to the life ofthe community' and 'a great lover of nature' who had no greatersatisfaction than 'the planting of trees and the establishment ofgardens'. He was survived by his wife and their four sons including(Sir) Rupert (1883-1962), later president of the Tasmanian LegislativeCouncil.
Some flavour of the Shoobridge milieu is conveyed by the annualstrawberry feast the Shoobridges held for their workers at the famousBushy Park hop-barn which 'had Biblical texts on its outer walls andwas frequently used as a church on Sundays. The hop-picking was alwaysclosed with a festival in true Kentish style. Poles garlanded withhops and bedecked with coloured ribbons, were carried around inprocession amid wild cheering. A dinner, with music and song broughtthe day to its close'. The strength of the family tradition is alsopreserved in the inscription of the original hop kiln built byEbenezer Shoobridge and known as the 'Text Kiln' from the Biblicaltexts also engraved on it, which reads 'Erected by EbenezerShoobridge, 1867, assisted by his wife and three sons and fivedaughters. Union is Strength'.
Select Bibliography
L. S. Bethell, The Valley of the Derwent (Hob, no date); Cyclopedia ofTasmania, vol 1 (Hob, 1900); K. R. von Stieglitz, A History of NewNorfolk and the Derwent Valley (Launc, 1962); Hobart Town Gazette, 5Mar 1885; Tasmanian Mail, 6 Apr 1878, 1 Sept 1888, 8 June 1922;Mercury (Hobart), 6 Apr 1903, 30 May 1922, 1 Nov 1924, 14 May 1936,13, 15 Mar 1939, 18 May 1940; Weekly Courier (Launceston), 16, 23, 30Dec 1931; P. Shackel, Conservation: A Study in the Growth of PublicInterest (B.A. Hons thesis, University of Tasmania, 1968); H. A.Broinowski, W. E. Shoobridge: A Tasmanian Visionary (B.A. Hons thesis,University of Tasmania, 1970). More on the resources
Author: Peter Chapman
Print Publication Details: Peter Chapman, 'Shoobridge, WilliamEbenezer (1846 - 1940)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume11, Melbourne University Press, 1988, pp 601-603.

Mr. W. E. Shoobridge In Excellent Health
Mr. W.E. Shoobridge, of Hobart, will celebrate his 94thbirthday anniversary tomorrow. Mr. Shoobridge is in excellenthealth and retains full possession of the faculties, which,during his long public career, have stamped bim as anoutstandlng Tasmanian.
Mr. Shoobridge has had a long association with the developmentof the State. To him goes the credit for the foundation ofthe apple export industry, he was responsible for thecommencement of the tobacco industry in Tasmania, and hisIrrigation scheme brought a high degree of fertility to BushyPark.
He is a son of the late Ebenezer Shoobridge, and a grandsonof the late William Shoobridge, who came to Tasmania in1822 and brought the first hop plants to the State.
Mr. Shoobridge was elected a member of the House of Assemblyin 1916 and again in 1922, when he held his seat until1928.



William Shoobridge



Shoobridge, William Ebernezer "Hawthorn Lodge"