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HOPE, Robert Culbertson (1812-1878)

HOPE, Dr Robert Culbertson (1812-1878)

Dr Robert Hope of Batesford was among the founders of Geelong College, as a member of the Corresponding Committee which undertook to promote the College in 1861.

Robert Culbertson Hope settled at Batesford established the property 'Lynnburn' and with his brother James (1810-1877) built flour mills on the Moorabool River at Batesford and on the Barwon River at Inverleigh. These water driven mills required extensive water races, dams and bridges over the rivers at each of the mill sites.

He was born at Temple Hall, Morebattle, Roxburghshire, Scotland on 12 May 1812, and studied medicine at London University. He arrived in Sydney, NSW on 12 August 1838 as ship's surgeon on the 'Lady Kennaway'. He married Catherine Elizabeth Hassall (1825-1922) in 1846 and they had a large family of 11 children - 9 sons and 2 daughters. According to Alexander Henderson, Marianne and Catherine Hassall were grandaughters of the 'Rev Samuel Marden, Senior Chaplain of the Colony of New South Wales (c.1794), Father of the Church in Australia, and founder of the Christian Church in New Zealand.'

He briefly practised medicine in NSW before overlanding to the Port Phillip District and settling at Batesford. He continued practising medecine in Geelong and later at Inverleigh. Dr Hope took up the run 'Sutherlands Creek' (later known as 'Darriwill') with his brothers in 1840, 'Native Creek' in 1851 and 'Bolangum' near Navarre from 1848 to 1860. He also partnered his brother, George, in 'Barwonleigh' next to 'Native Creek' When these properties were later divided, Dr Hope took over 'Barwonleigh and his brother, George, took 'Darriwill'.

In 1856, he was elected to the Legislative Council for South Western Province, held the seat until 1864, was re-elected in 1867 and held it until his retirement due to ill-health in 1874. He was Chairman of Committees in 1864 and from 1870 to 1874. He was a Justice of the Peace and President of the Geelong and Western District Agricultural and Horticultural Society. Dr Robert Hope was one of the earliest viticulturalists in the Geelong region and established large orchards on his property.

He died at St Kilda, Melbourne on 24 June 1878. The Argus newspaper published his death notice: 'On the 24th inst., at Hawthorn, Robert Culbertson Hope, M. D. , aged 66.'

His sons, Dr Thomas Culbertson Hope (1849-1913), Robert Hope (1847-1905) Charles Hope (1855-1932), and Arthur Robert Hope (1859-1908) were all educated at Geelong College.

His brother, George Hope (1814-1884), was a member of the first Geelong College management committee in 1861.

Sources: The Argus (Melb) 25 June 1878 p1; Hendersons Australian Families pp 267-274.
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