Bob Cook's life will be remembered at Robina Anglican Church on the Gold Coast on Friday January 17.
Bob Cook's life will be remembered at Robina Anglican Church on the Gold Coast on Friday January 17.

Tributes flow for fourth generation resident

FOURTH generation Stanthorpe resident, orchardist, brick maker, school bus driver and one of Stanthorpe's last tin miners Bob Cook, has died aged 87 after a short illness.

He leaves behind his wife of 61 years Pamela, his two children Randall and Wendy, and his grandkids Ryan and Ewan.

One of six children, Mr Cook was born in October 1932 to Sam and Vonnie Cook.

The couple lived on Amosfield Road and ran cattle, as well as owning the Stanthorpe Block Works.

His great grandparents Thomas and Jane Cook had settled at the 6 Mile at Maryland in the 1880s.

Mr Cook's grandfather Joe Cook had operated the first motorised taxi and tourist service in town.

Joe and his wife Kate also lived in Amosfield Road, in a house still standing behind Cattarins Mechanical Repairs.

When Bob was 12-years old, he ran from Amosfield Road to his Aunt's and Uncle's farm on the hill above where the Wine College now stands, to let them know the war had ended.

He first went to school in Stanthorpe and then boarded at Slade School in Warwick.

He played both cricket and rugby league, a sport he continued to play after his schooling finished.

When he left school and returned to Stanthorpe, he worked at the Block Works with his father.

In 1954, help given to a local man was repaid when a land lottery ticket bought for Mr Cook yielded him a farm at Whiskey Gulley.

Although conditions were to be upheld, a house and orchard had to be established within three years.

Bob, along with help from his grandmother Kate, planted the first orchard, the remnants of which can be seen behind Carnell Raceway today.

He continued to work at the Block Works with his father where he met Pamela Kleinhanss, the niece of Marg Mitchell and Lola McAlpine.

They were married soon after in November of 1958 at St Pauls Church of England.

It was the last wedding conducted in the old wooden Church, which was replaced by the modern brick structure we recognise today.

Pamela gave birth to their first child Randall in 1959, followed by Wendy in 1962.

Bob and his family built the first house on the farm recognised as 'Kintyre', a solid brick four room dwelling with an attached laundry and outhouse.

 

Bob Cook and his son Randall Cook in 1960 at the farm house Bob Cook built.
Bob Cook and his son Randall Cook in 1960 at the farm house Bob Cook built.

 

The house didn't have electricity until some time around 1965 according to Bob's son Randall Cook.

"Tilly lanterns, a wooden stove, heater, kerosene fridge and a copper for the washing," he said.

"Mum recalls their neighbour Allan Dachs turning up not long after they were married, bringing a couple of rabbits for her to cook up.

"Despite being a mile off the road, and two gates to open and close, fresh bread was delivered every couple of days," he said.

The orchard was planted with Apricots, Plums, Nectarines, Peaches and Apples.

"Stan McLucas helped guide Dad through the fruit growing process and was always trying to get him to plant grapes in the bottom paddock, but he was never keen on grapes, other than to eat them," Randall said.

In later years, the farm produced tomatoes, capsicum, zucchinis and beans, with cabbages and cauliflower in the winter.

"Dad was a keen horseman, and after a short-lived dalliance with sheep, operated a Hereford cattle stud with his long-time friend Neil Crisp.

"He also worked for many years delivering petrol and driving the school bus for his other mate, Tony Crisp."

Randall said his father also ran a small tin mine at Kyoomba, with Ray O'Keefe and Ray Goodyear.

"This was one of the last operational tin mines in the district."

He said his father took over the Block Works after his grandparents moved to Brisbane.

"The Block Works were part of an old tin mine backing onto Kettle Swamp Creek.

"There were heaps of mine shafts and mullock and old rusty machinery, a great place for his kids to explore."

The cement mixer from the Block Works, and the farms first fruit grader, a round hand operated machine, can be seen at the Stanthorpe Museum today.

Randall said the Thursday before Easter was always reserved for a fishing trip to catch Good Friday's meal.

"These often took place down at Tom Fox's property at Rivertree - it always was the best tasting fish," he said.

In 1975, Bob sold majority of the farm, keeping a portion on Knibb Road opposite the McLucas farm.

"He planted a few stone fruit trees and grew tomatoes and capsicums, but mostly worked for Tony Crisp driving the buses - which was his love.

"Dad also loved playing rugby league and lawn bowls.

"He was a life member of The Summit Bowls Club."

Randall said there was nothing more Bob loved doing than watching his two grandsons Ryan and Ewan play rugby.

In later years Bob and Pamela retired and moved to the Gold Coast, selling the farm to their son Randall and his wife Jo.

 

Bob and Pamela Cook celebrating Pamela’s 80th birthday.
Bob and Pamela Cook celebrating Pamela’s 80th birthday.

 

They lived at Burleigh Heads for 12 years where they met many new friends.

"Dad loved fishing in any gutter along the beach that he could find.

"They spent a lot of time travelling around Australia, visiting every nook and cranny of this country.

The family are inviting people to attend Bob's memorial service at Robina Anglican Church on Friday January 17 at 11am.

Stanthorpe Border Post


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