Robert (Bob) Charles Cobb
20 October 1870 - 20 December 1949

Robert Charles Cobb (known as Bob) was the third child born to Joseph Edward Cobb and his wife Harriet Sophia Cobb. He was born in Christchurch, Hampshire, southern England, on 20 October 1870. In 1883, when Bob was 13 years old, the Cobb family immigrated to New Zealand on the ship Lady Jocelyn. The family of ten arrived in Wellington on 1 January 1884. 

Joseph and Harriet with their children, 1883. 
Robert is probably the boy standing behind his mother in this photo.

The Cobb family boarded the ship 'Kiwi' to take them to their new home in Napier. They arrived there on 5 January 1884. Below is the notice of arrivals to Napier which was published in the Hawke's Bay Herald, Vol XXI, Issue 6749, 7 January 1884:

In Napier, the Cobbs were probably met by Bob's aunt, Emily Lydford, and her husband Richard who had arrived in Napier, New Zealand five years prior, in 1879. There were three little Lydford cousins for Robert to meet- Richard Jnr, William, and baby George.

The Cobb family settled in Port Ahuriri for a short time. They later moved to Hastings.

These photos of Bob were taken by his mother, Harriet.
Date unknown.
(Courtesy of G J Bland)

We are unsure at this stage, what education Bob had in New Zealand, if any, or of the work Bob did in his early years. It seems likely that when his parents and younger siblings moved from Hastings to Napier around 1889 he remained in Hastings with some of his other brothers for a short time. Perhaps they helped to run their parents' Hastings photographic studio.

In 1890, 19 year old R C Cobb appeared before two Justices of the Peace in the Hastings court charged with allowing a horse to stray. He was fined five shillings, and seven shillings costs. Later, in May 1893, Bob was summoned to court and fined five shillings, and costs for leaving a dray unattended, resulting in it capsizing while going around the corner by the Union Bank. The accident caused telephone communications around Emerson Street, Napier, to be disconnected for a time. 

In 1896 Bob was living in a room behind Mr Hatten's unoccupied shop in Hastings. His freeloading room-mate Charles William McGee stole some money and a silver mounted pipe from him. The case went to court where it was found that McGee had also stolen from another gentleman. A harsh penalty was imposed.

Around the turn of the century, Bob moved to Palmerston North where he worked with his older brother Alf in his building business. In July 1903 Bob left to study theology in the Salvation Army Training Home in Melbourne, Australia. (There was no training facility in New Zealand at the time.) An account of Bob's farewell at one of the construction sites with all of Alf's employees was mentioned in the local paper. It seems as though Bob would have received approximatey four months training.

In the 1905/06 Electoral Roll, Bob was registered as living on Cook Street, Palmerston North, and was working as a butcher. 

Bob (37) married Alice Maud Gardner (25)* (11 June 1884 - 10 May 1950) on 4 December 1907 at the Salvation Army Hall, Waipawa. Both Bob and Alice were Salvation Army Officers, he was a Captain and she, a Lieutenant. They were married by Brigadier Albiston who, at the time, was the the officer in charge of the North Island district. According to Salvation Army protocol all Officers of the church had to request permission to marry and they were required to only marry other officers. [We understand that Bob was working for the Salvation Army in Waipawa and this is where he would have met Alice.]

Robert and Alice's wedding cake.
Photo taken by Mrs Cobb, Napier and Hastings.
(Photo courtesy of G J Bland)
The wedding of Bob and Alice. The other people in the photo are Alice's family.
Back row: George Arrow, Mary Hazelhurst, Bob Cobb & Alice Cobb, Mabel, Thomas Smith Jnr, Emily.
Front: Clara Arrow with daughter, Jane Gardner/Smith, sitting on the ground is Fred Smith. 
Photo taken by Mrs Cobb, 1907.
(Photo courtesy of G J Bland)
Bob and Alice Cobb on their wedding day.
1907. This photo was probably taken by Bob's mother.
(Photo courtesy of G J Bland)
Robert was a Salvation Army Officer. This photo was taken around 1909.
Photo by Harriet Cobb.
(Photo courtesy of G J Bland)
Alice Cobb (nee Gardner) was a Salvation Army officer.
Photo taken around 1909.
(Photo courtesy of G J Bland)

Bob and Alice had five children, two sons and three daughters:
  • Lionel Robert Cobb (10 Aug 1908 - 19 July 1970) 
  • Dulcie Mabel Cobb (18 May 1912 - 11 Oct 1990) 
  • John (Jack) Arthur Reginald Cobb (28 June 1916 - 23 Oct 2007) 
  • Freda Kathleen Cobb (1 Nov 1917 - 2008) 
  • Esma Mary Cobb (8 May 1928 - 11 Jan 1992)
In 1908 Bob was a Captain in the Salvation Army Church in Pukekohe, Auckland. Alice was a Lieutenant with the church, a rank she earned after completing officer training. For Bob to have gained the rank of Captain meant that he had served the church as an officer, for five years.

Bob & Alice with baby Lionel.
This photo was taken around 1909, probably by H Cobb.
(Photo courtesy of G J Bland)

In March 1911 Bob's father, Joseph, passed away in Napier aged 70. Bob and Alice were living in Palmerston North at the time. 

The Salvation Army held a 'Village Fair' fundraiser with a Swiss theme in September 1911. Robert and Alice were both involved in running and organising stalls. He had a meat stall, and Alice was involved in organising a fancy good stall. One of the competitions at the fair was a nail-driving contest for women. It was won by Alice! 

By the end of 1911 Bob and Alice resided at 19 Ferguson Street, and bought out The Wellington Meat Company store in the town square with a business partner, renaming the shop, Messrs Cobb & Co. Advertisements for shop assistants were put into the local paper in 1914 and 1916

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Delivery vehicle used by Ross & Cobb Butchers, Palmerston North, early 1910s.
Phorographer unknown.
(Photo courtesy of G J Bland)

In 1912 Bob and his brother Alf were appointed by their church, to work with the youth. 

In 1914 Bob moved his young family to Morris Street, Palmerston North.

When the news came that Bob's youngest brother John (Jack), an ANZAC, had been wounded on Gallipoli in April 1915, he was living in Morris Street, Palmerston North. After Jack recovered from his injuries and was discharged from hospital, he sent Bob the following postcard from Egypt:

Robert's youngest brother, John Wesley Cobb. Egypt, 1915.
Photographer unknown
(Photo courtesy of G J Bland)

Postcard from J W Cobb to Robert, 1915.
Dear Bob, Just to let you know I am well but having plenty of rest it's(?) about 40 miles from Cairo's noise. I have received no mail yet but still in hopes. I hope all are well. I have recovered my lost property and have managed to get some pay. Now with best love to Alice and children, and hoping business with you is good. I remain yours etc Jack  
I had photo taken one night the first day out of the hospital at Luna Park. I had no clothes but I borrowed an Australian's uniform sooner than be beat.
(Courtesy of G J Bland)

At the annual Salvation Army gathering in 1916, Alice and Laura Cobb (Robert's brother's wife) were involved in organising and catering for the dinner. The husbands would have been in attendance at the dinner and public meeting to follow.

In 1916, R C Cobb is mentioned as being at a half yearly business meeting of the Oroura Lodge of Druids, along with P Cobb.

In October 1916 the Salvation Army held an annual meeting in Palmerston North. Alice and her sister in law, Laura, were involved in catering for this event. No doubt Bob and his brother Alf were in attendance at the meetings.

Bob opened his own butchery, Cobb & Co in the square, Palmerston North. The family resided at 20 Carroll Street.

In mid 1916, Bob contributed to the purchase of four street lamps to light up the gardens in the town square.

On 28 June 1916, son John Arthur Reginald was born at home. Robert was 45 years old. Alice was 34.

In 1917 Messrs Cobb and Co was advertising for a young worker for the shop. 

1917 was a tough year for Bob and his family. First, his mother-in-law, Jane, died on 9 January and less than two weeks later, his brother-in-law Thomas Edward Smith (Alice's step-brother), who worked with him in his butchery, died in Palmerston Hospital, as a result of a motorcycle crash. Thomas' funeral procession left from Robert's home in Carroll Street at 2:45pm on 22 January 1917. He was buried in the Terrence End Cemetery Block 9 Plot 33. Thomas was single, aged 28 years.

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Thomas Edward Smith.
Photo by ... Crown Studios. Date unknown, but before 1917.
(Photo courtesy of G J Bland)

Bob received the sad news about his nephew Lynch's death in late May 1917, then the following announcement was made in the Manawatu Times, 15 June 1917 indicating that Alice's other step brother, Fred, was wounded in action. The notice below mentions J Smith but we are sure it refers to Fred J Smith, of Waipawa.

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To end a very sad year, in early June 1917, Bob's youngest brother Jack was killed in action in the battle for Messines, and Alice's mother, Jane passed away.

At some point around 1918 Bob and family moved to New Plymouth.

In March 1918, R C Cobb was reported to have presided over a Druid's meeting at the Oroura Lodge. 

Bob and Alice moved their family to Taranaki in early 1919. Not long afterwards, Bob's brother, George, was part of a delegation from the Featherston County who visited Taranaki (in March) to visit points of interest in the region. It is probable that the brothers met up.

Robert and Alice with four of their children, around 1918/19.
From left: Dulcie, Robert, Jack, Lionel, Alice with baby Freda.

In 1919 a Master Cobb performed a recitation at a Salvation Army festival. This was probably Lionel, who would have been 11 at the time. 

In January 1920 Sergeant Major Cobb (presumably Bob) presided at a farewell for the Commandant of the New Plymouth Salvation Army. 

In 1922 Bob moved his family to 220 Gill Street, New Plymouth. In the late 1920s there was another move, this time to 153 Molesworth Street. Also in town at the time was Harriet, Bob's mother, who lived at 158 Leach Street, and Bob's nephew, Harry Clarence (Alf's son), who lived in Vogeltown.

Alice and Robert Cobb and their children.
Date unknown, but around 1931/32
(Photo courtesy of G J Bland)

The 1935 Electoral Roll registers Bob and Alice, along with their daughter Dulcie, as living at 153 Molesworth Street. Later in the year Dulcie married. Around the same time Bob, Alice and youngest daughter Esma (who was about seven) moved to Manaia where Bob opened a butchery. They lived on Reimensncheider Street, Manaia (daughter Esma and her husband later lived on this street too) .

Robert and Alice with their children.
Photographer and date unknown.
(Photo courtesy of G J Bland)
Alice & Robert Cobb. Date unknown.
(Photo courtesy of G J Bland)
Alice Cobb on far right. Date unknown.
(Photo courtesy of G J Bland)

In 1946, the Electoral Roll indicates that Bob and Alice resided at Te Rau Street, Manaia along with their unmarried daughter Freda. Bob's brother, George also lived there at the time. (He was registered as a clerk.)

Bob's last address was Te Rau Street, Manaia. 

Robert and Alice's 40th wedding anniversary celebration - December 1947.
Back row, from left: John (Jack) Cobb, Esmae & Maurice Hitchcock, Dulcie & Eric Lambert, Freda Cobb, Lionel Cobb
Seated, from left: George Cobb, Elsie Ashcroft, Robert & Alice Cobb, Alf Cobb, Rod Lambert
Children at front, from left: Ian Lambert, Pete Lambert, Bev Hitchcock.
Photo by Tru-Tone, Hawera.
(Photo courtesy of G J Bland)

Robert and Alice Cobb with their extended family, around 1948.
Photographer unknown
(Photo courtesy of G J Bland)
Robert and Alice Cobb.
Photographer & date unknown.
(Photo courtesy of G J Bland)

Bob died on 20 December 1949 at Craighom Hospital in Hawera after suffering pancreatic cancer for approximately one year. He was 79 years of age. Bob was buried at the Hawera Cemetery. Alice died a few months later in May 1950 in Mt Eden, Auckland from a cerebral aneurysm.

Cobb siblings
Photographer & date unknown
(Photo courtesy of G J Bland)

*Alice Maud Gardner 
& the Gardner Connection
(11 June 1884 - 10 May 1950)
Alice was one of six children born to George (1856 - 24 Dec 1886) and Jane Gardner (nee Simmons) (bapt 16 November 1851 - 9 January 1917), who married at a double wedding (with George's sister Alice Ann Gardner (12 February 1860 - 1932) to Walter Timms (1855 - 31 July 1933) at the Primitive Methodist Chapel in Cambridge Terrace, Christchurch on 21 April 1877. George was a 21 year old labourer who was born in Milton under Wychwood, Oxfordshire, England. Jane was the youngest daughter of Richard and Elizabeth Simmons, and was born in Gagingwell, Enstone, Oxfordshire, England. It is interesting to note that Jane worked as a servant in Milton before she came out to New Zealand.

25 year old Jane came as an assisted immigrant to New Zealand with her future in-laws, William Merry Gardner (1820 - 3 Dec 1911), his wife, Mary Ann Beall/Beale (1825 - 27 April 1910), and their 15 year old daughter Alice Ann Gardner (12 Feb 1860 - 1932). They departed England on 3 November 1874 on board the passenger ship, Lady Jocelyn. During the 80 day voyage there was an outbreak of whooping cough which claimed the lives of at least five infants. The quartet sailed into Lyttleton, Christchurch on 21 January 1875. It is unclear how it came about that Jane accompanied the Gardner family to New Zealand. 

On arrival in New Zealand, Jane secured work as a servant in Christchurch while the Gardners eventually settled in Ashburton. Their son, George Gardner (1856 - 24 Dec 1886), arrived in New Zealand around 1876. It is thought that he worked as a labourer in Longbeach for a period after his arrival.

Jane must have kept in close contact with the Gardner family and developed a special bond with George. On 19 April 1877, George and Jane submitted their application to marry. The document stated that Jane had been living in Christchurch for two years while George had been in town for a mere three days.

Jane was a 26 year old servant at the time of her marriage. Perhaps she was working for the Gardiner family at the time. 

The Primitive Methodist Chapel, Christchurch.
(Photo courtesy of G J Bland)

George's parents, and his sister Alice Ann Timms.
Photograph dated between 1890 & 1910.
(Photo courtesy of G J Bland)
George worked, for a time, at Longbeach, near Ashburton. After their second child was born, George and Jane moved to Waipawa. 

The children of George and Jane Gardner were:
  • Mary Elizabeth Jane Hazlehurst (1878 in Longbeach, Ashburton - 1961)
    • Worked as a domestic servant in Aramoana prior to her marriage. She married William Matthew Hazlehurst in the Salvation Army Barracks in Victoria Street, Christchurch, in 1904. William was a railway employee in Christchurch, then moved to Auckland. The couple had a son and a daughter. 
Mary (nee Gardner) and William Hazlehurst with their children. 
Photographer & date unknown.
(Photo courtesy of G J Bland)
  • Francis (Frank) William Gardner (4 Feb 1879 in Longbeach - 1943)
    • Married Ella Burke in Waipawa, on 18 July 1906. They had three sons and one daughter. 
Frank and Ella Gardner.
Photo by Chas. Sorrell, Dickens Street, Napier.
Date unknown.
(Photo courtesy of G J Bland)
  • Clara Lorraine Arrow (1880 - 6 Aug 1920)
    • Married George Henry Arrow (of Waipawa), in 1904. They had three daughters and one son, all born in Palmerston North. Both Clara and George died young. Apparently their children were spread around various family members after their deaths.
George & Clara Arrow with their children, Mavis, Frank, Joyce & Rita.
Photo by Chas Allen Photos, Palmerston, approximately 1920.
(Photo courtesy of G J Bland)
  • Alice Maud Cobb (11 June 1883 - 10 May 1950)
Alice and Robert Cobb and their children. Date unknown.
(Photo courtesy of G J Bland)
  • Emily Annie Barnes (1884 - 19 February 1972)
    • Married John (known as Jack) Barnes (? - 7 August 1964) in 1909 and lived at 31 Jellicoe Street, Waipukurau. They had one son, John Selwyn Barnes (9 October 1913 - 6 January 1989). Emily is buried in the Waipukurau Cemetery Block 1C Plot 194.
    Jack and Emily Barnes (nee Gardner)
    Photo taken by The Tesla Studios, Wanganui.
    Date unknown.
    (Photo courtesy of G J Bland)
  • Mabel Preacher (1885 - 31 Aug 1968)
    • Married James Preacher, a Scotsman, on 11 Nov 1915 in Waipukurau. They had one daughter, Gladys Mary (7 July 1917 - 1994). James was killed in action during WW1. Mabel and her daughter moved in New Plymouth after James died. Gladys married someone named George later in life.
    Mabel Preacher (nee Gardner).
    Photographer & date unknown.
    (Photo courtesy of G J Bland)
Four of  the Gardner girls: Clara, Mary, Alice (at back), Mabel.
Photo by The Crown Studios, Whallby & Co, Palmerston North. Date unknown.
(Photo courtesy of G J Bland)
Electoral Rolls for 1880-81, and 1885-6, state that George worked in Waipawa as a baker. 

Alice was just a toddler when her father became sick, and after a short illness, died from encephalitus (inflamation of the brain) on Christmas Eve 1886, aged 30 years. His funeral was the first in the Salvation Army Church in Waipawa. George was buried in Waipawa Cemetery, plot 046, on 27 December 1886.

George had been working as a labourer prior to his death, but left his family destitute when he passed away. The Salvation Army took a special collection for them. Following the death of George, Jane took in washing to help make ends meet. Not long afterwards, she met Thomas George Smith (? - December 1919), who also professed to be a Salvationist. They married on 22 February 1888 at their home on Ruataniwha Street, Waipawa. Thomas was 31 and a labourer. Jane was 36 and a widow of fourteen months.

The Wedding Certificate of Thomas Smith and Jane Gardner 1888.
Photo by K Bland 2015

Marriage Certificate of Thomas and Jane.
It is interesting to note that Jane signed in her new name.
Photo by K Bland 2015
Thomas and Jane's signatures on their marriage certificate 1888.
Photo by K Bland 2015.

The Salvation Army Baracks on Kenilworth Street was built in 1898 according to the book Abbott's-Ford A History of Waipawa. This building was used until the 1930s and would have been where the Gardner/Smith family worshipped.

The children of Thomas and Jane Smith were:
  • Thomas Edward (1889 - 20 January 1917)
    • Thomas worked with Bob Cobb in his butcher shop in Palmerston North. He, unfortunately, died in a motorcycle accident.
  • Frederick (Fred) James (24 October 1890 - 1 August 1961) 
    • Fred was born in Ashurst, near Palmerston North. He served during WW1 and was evacuated home due to a serious injury. He later married and had four children.
Jane Gardner with four of her children, outside her modest home in Waipawa -
possibly during her second marriage.
Photo by W Billows. Date unknown, but after 1895.
(Photo courtesy of G J Bland)

Around 1892, Thomas and Jane moved the family north to Ormondville, where it seems that Thomas worked as a boot and shoe maker. He advertised his services in the Bush Advocate between  May 1892 - July 1893. Alice, Mabel and Emily are recorded as attending the Ormondville School in 1893. They later went to Waipawa School.

At some point, a letter from Thomas but addressed to Mrs Thomas Smith, Oamaru, was returned to sender. It seems that Jane found the letter, and while she read it, she never discussed the contents with Thomas. Later in court it was stated that the contents definitely implied that he had another wife. Shortly afterwards Thomas disappeared without warning. In September 1893, when the details about Thomas' bigamist activities came to light, they were reported publicly, and are noted below:

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In September 1893 Thomas was taken to the Supreme Court, Napier, charged with bigamy.

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Thomas pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years hard labour at the Napier Prison (New Zealand's oldest prison). There, he may have worked at the quarry across the road, the site of the Centennial Gardens. Stones from the quarry were used to construct the walls of the prison, and also several of the retaining walls nearby.

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It is unclear what happened to Jane after Thomas was sent to prison. We do know that she continued to use the surname Smith because her son, Fred, named 'Mrs T Smith' his next of kin when he enlisted for war. 

Jane Gardner.
Photographer and date unknown, but around 1917.
(Photo courtesy of G J Bland)

It seems that Thomas returned to his wife Bridget after he was released from prison. We believe that he remained in touch with his youngest sons until his death in 1919.

Jane died on 9 January 1917 aged 60. She is buried at the Waipawa Cemetery, Plot 046, with her first husband, George. 

Grave of George and Jane Gardner in Waipawa.
Photo by K Bland 2015

Thomas Junior died less than two weeks after his mother, on 20 January 1917 as a result of a motorcycle accident. He passed away in Palmerston North Hospital, and then was buried at the Terrence End Cemetery.

Thomas G Smith died in December 1919 aged 67, and was buried in the Oamaru Old Cemetery. His first wife, Bridget (m1876), died a few weeks after him aged 76, in January 1920, and she was buried next to him. Their grave is in the Catholic section, Block 156, Plots 61-64.

The children of Bob and Alice Cobb 
Bob and Alice Cobb had five children:
  • Lionel Robert Cobb (10 August 1908 - 19 July 1970)
  • Dulcie Mabel Cobb (18 May 1912 - 11 Oct 1990)
  • John (Jack) Arthur Reginald Cobb (28 June 1916 - 23 Oct 2007)
  • Freda Kathleen Cobb (1 Nov 1917 - 2008)
  • Esma Mary Cobb (8 May 1928 - 11 Jan 1992)

The Cobb siblings: Lionel, Esma, Freda, Dulcie, Jack.
Photographer and date unknown.
(Photo courtesy of G J Bland)

Lionel Robert Cobb (Oct 1908 - 18 July 1970) 
  • Lionel married Lily (or Lilian?) Annie Lambert (known as Lil) (1 Mar 1912 - 20 June 1989) in 1934. They had a son and two daughters:
    • M R Cobb 
    • Ngaere Lillian Cobb (1937 - 26 July 2022)
    • L Cobb
  • He served as a Private during WWII.
  • Lionel worked as a Postmaster in many places around New Zealand. He was also very good at icing cakes, knitting and singing. He sang in the Hamilton Civil Choir and was a Mason. As for the knitting, Lionel's niece G Cobb, remembered family knitting bees where each member of the family would knit one part of a jersey and together they would produce an article in an evening!
  • Lionel died aged 61 and was buried at the Hamilton Park Cemetery MAGN-20-11. Lily died in 1989 aged 77. She is buried alongside Lionel at plot MAGN-20-12. Her last known address was 5 Ford Street, Hamilton.
The wedding of Lionel and Lily Cobb, 1934.
Jack Cobb is pictured on the extreme left of this photo.
Photo by Brandon Haughton, Hawera.
(Photo courtesy of G J Bland)

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Lionel Cobb. Photo taken 1928/9.
Photo courtesy of Puke Ariki Museum's Heritage Collections, New Plymouth.

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Lionel Cobb wearing Lodge attire. 1951.
Photo courtesy of Puke Ariki, New Plymouth.

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Lionel and Lily's children: M Cobb and his sister N Cobb
Photo courtesy of Puke Ariki Museum, New Plymouth

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The Cobb family, from left to right: M, Lily, L, N, Lionel. 1953
Photo courtesy of Puke Ariki Museum, New Plymouth.

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Siblings: M., L.  N. Cobb. 1953.
Photographer unknown.
(Photo courtesy of Puke Ariki Museum, New Plymouth.)
Dulcie Mabel Lambert (18 May 1912 - 11 October 1990) 
  • Dulcie married Eric George Lambert (20 Mar 1907 - Oct 1984) in 1935. They had four sons: A, R, I and P. Dulcie died in New Plymouth.
The wedding of Eric and Dulcie Lambert 1935.
Photographer unknown.
(Photo courtesy of G J Bland)
John (Jack) Arthur Reginald (28 June 1916 - 23 October 2007) 
  • Jack was born in Palmerston North but spent many years in New Plymouth. 
  • He worked as a painter, then a builder for most of his life. 
  • Jack attended the New Zealand Missionary College in Longburn, Palmerston North for one year, in 1938. 
  • Jack was a gifted singer. He formed his own girls' choir which was named Jubilate. A young Ruth White was one of the founding members of this choir. She recalled rehearsing at the Lewis Eady building, and later singing and performing a guard of honour at Jack's wedding.
  • On St Patrick's Day, 17 March 1942, Jack (25) married 26 year old Jean Catherine Archibald (13 Feb 1916 - 27 Apr 2010) at the Balmoral Seventh-day Adventist Church, Auckland. 
  • Shortly before the wedding Jack had received his call up for army service. He appealed on the grounds that he was a conscientious objector. On 4 March 1942 Jack was ordered to do non-combatant duties (Trentham - records office, Ravensthorp - stores) which he did as a Private. While in the army, Jack's good friend was Alan Wood, pictured below with his family. 
Jack's friend, Alan Wood, with his family.
Photographer and date unknown.
(Photo courtesy of G J Bland)
  • Jack and Jean had one daughter, then adopted two sons and a daughter:
    • G J Cobb (still living)
    • Brian Alan John Cobb [born Brian Frederick Knight] (26 Sep 1946 - 15 Sep 2005). Brian was given the second name 'Alan' after Jack's friend from army days, Alan Wood.
    • Robert Bruce Cobb (born Thrupp) (19 Nov 1954 - 31 July 2017)
    • D L Cobb (still living)
  • Jack's middle name 'Reginald' was an unusual one. His children used to call him John Arthur 'Original' Cobb.
  • After the war, Jack told his family that he wanted to build a house and his family laughed at him. The house below is the first house he built and this was the home that Baby Brian came to when he joined the Cobb family. It was in Opaheke Road, Papakura. Jack built a number of houses in Papakura during his life. 
The first house that Jack built, c1945
Photo by K J Bland
(Photo courtesy of G J Bland)
  • Jean always did odd jobs such as dressmaking and clothing alterations to make extra cash. 
Jack and Jean with their family, c1950.
From left: G Cobb, Robert Cobb, Jack & Jean Cobb, Brian Cobb (at rear) & D Cobb.
Photographer unknown.
(Photo courtesy of G J Bland)
  • Jack passed away in the Hayman Rest Home (Trevor Hoskin Drive, Wiri) in 2007, aged 91. Jean passed away at the same rest home three years later, aged 94. They are buried together at the Manuakau Memorial Gardens, QANON-C-017.
Freda Kathleen Cobb (1 Nov 1917 - 2008) 
  • Freda remained single all her life.
  • Freda owned a successful cake business/bakery in Manaia which she ran with her sister Esma Hitchcock. Freda's nephew M R Cobb remembered visiting the sweet smelling shop and seeing the huge blocks of butter which were chopped up for baking. The business was later bought out by Yarrows the Bakers (date unknown). 
  • Later in life, Freda managed the Adams Bruce shop in Wellington for a number of years. This shop sold huge cakes! [Adams Bruce was started by two bakers, English-born, Ernest Adams and a Christchurch baker, Hugh Bruce. Around 1929, the bakery separated into a South Island based company and a North Island one. In 1974, long after Bruce's death, the bakeries were amalgamated and renamed Ernest Adams.]
  • Freda died in Wellington in 2008.
Esma Mary Hitchcock (8 May 1928 - 11 Jan 1992)
  • Esma was a talented singer.
  • She married Maurice Edward Hitchcock on 14 May 1945 at the Methodist Church, Manaia a week after her 17th birthday. Maurice and Esma had two daughters and two sons.
Esma with her parents, on her wedding day, 1945.
Photographer unknown.
(Photo courtesy of G J Bland)
Maurice and Esma Hitchcock on their wedding day,
Ngaire cobb, Hitchcock boy & Freda Cobb.
(Photo courtesy of G J Bland)

Sources of information:
Family held records
Papers Past
Births, Deaths and Marriages Online
The Encyclopedia of New Zealand - Salvation Army
Archives New Zealand: Archway
Abbott's-Ford A History of Waipawa by Margaret Gray, 1989: Produced by The Waipawa Village Committee
Puke Ariki Museum, New Plymouth - Heritage Collections
Central Hawkes Bay District Council - Waipawa Cemetery Search
Waitaki District Council - Oamaru Cemetery Search
South Taranaki District Council Cemetery Register - family tree
Photographs: G J Bland, K Bland

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Photo courtesy of Puke Ariki Museum, New Plymouth.

Last updated on 30 March 2021

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