Australian Dictionary of Biography

  • Tip: searches only the name field
  • Tip: Use double quotes to search for a phrase

Corbould, Harold Edward (Ted) (1909–1989)

by S. J. Routh

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 17, (MUP), 2007

Harold Edward (Ted) Corbould (1909-1989), pastoralist and philanthropist, was born on 9 February 1909 at Bellevue Hill, Sydney, younger of twin sons of Victorian-born William Henry Corbould, mining engineer, and his wife Una Robina, née Dodds, from New South Wales. Two sisters had preceded the boys, one dying in infancy. After earlier years near a copper mine at Burraga, New South Wales, their mother became `resolutely urban’. Their father, who was to found Mount Isa Mines Ltd, was usually in north-west Queensland or travelling abroad, raising capital for his mining ventures. `Ted’ and his brother, Eric (`Bill’), were educated at Tudor House, Moss Vale, and The King’s School, Parramatta.

On leaving school in 1926 Ted Corbould worked as a jackeroo, woolclasser and overseer. In 1934, assisted financially by his father, he acquired Avon Lake, a property near Cooma. Although primarily a commercial wool-grower, from about 1951 he also maintained merino sheep and Aberdeen Angus cattle studs. Intensely hard-working, he was nicknamed `Daylight’ by station hands, who had to use all of it. In the 1940s he accumulated more land in the Monaro region, which he sold in the wool boom of the early 1950s, making a substantial profit. Moving to the New England area in 1955, he bought several properties, including Springfield, near Wallangra, north-west of Inverell, and in 1960 Avon, near Tenterfield. In 1956 he acquired a group of leases amounting to 4540 sq. miles (11,759 km2) of `good cattle breeding country’ north-west of Coen, Cape York Peninsula, Queensland. Headquarters were at Rokeby station. Amid a flurry of further negotiations Corbould began improvements, including cattle yards, an airstrip, and housing for Aboriginal stockmen, and bought stock. He sold the enterprise in 1959, for a time retaining a minor interest.

About 1960 Corbould studied for a short while at the Julian Ashton Art School, Sydney. Ill health saw him return to New England, and by late 1963 he was in semi-retirement at Eagle Heights, Tamborine Mountain, Queensland. From 1966 he mostly lived on a small farm called Wilga, at Bunya, north of Brisbane (with two years back in the Tamborine district in 1980-82). He bought up smallholdings in south-east Queensland, some from dairy farmers leaving the industry, others in pockets that had been little developed by previous owners. At times a tree planter, from about 1975 he donated twenty properties to the Queensland government for conservation purposes. According to an official of the State’s Environmental Protection Agency, Tim Ellis, it was the single most important contribution to the conservation of south-east Queensland by any non-State organisation or individual.

In 1977 Corbould, suffering from emphysema, became distressed when his favourite cattle dog died. His housekeeper contacted the Salvation Army. An officer came to the house, buried the dog, and consoled the household. Corbould commented: `if the Salvos will do this for a dog, what do they do for people?’. Over the next twelve years he gave the Salvation Army more than $2.5 million and donated generously to charities such as the Blue Nursing Service. In 1980 he sold land at Caloundra cheaply to the Landsborough Shire Council for what was to become the Corbould Park racecourse. He provided $50,000 to the Astronomical Association of Queensland in 1987 for research projects.

Corbould was appointed MBE in 1987. Shy but polished in manner, frugal to a fault and at times litigious, despite increasing illness he spent his later years pursuing his interests in painting, in conservation and, above all, in donating to charities that he considered the most practical. He died on 10 June 1989 at Everton Park, Brisbane, and was buried with Salvation Army forms at Pinnaroo lawn cemetery, Aspley. Corbould had never married. His will, after personal legacies and a bequest of $10,000 to the `Infinite Way’ movement founded by Joel S. Goldsmith, directed that the income from continuing trusts be distributed predominantly to the Salvation Army, and the remainder to other charities that he had supported. In 2002 Perpetual Trustees Queensland Ltd, on behalf of the Harold Edward Corbould Charitable Trust, distributed $537,240 to the Salvation Army, Queensland, and $143,789 to other good causes. Properties that he had given to the Commonwealth in his lifetime were transferred in 1994 to the Queensland government; they are now nature reserves named for Edward Corbould and Una Corbould.

Select Bibliography

  • W. H. Corbould, Broken Hill to Mount Isa (1981)
  • K. W. Lawrence, The Background to the Sunshine Coast Turf Club and the Development of Corbould Park 1975-1985 (1985)
  • J. Broinowski, A Family Memoir (1993)
  • Daily Sun (Brisbane), 30 May 1986, p 1
  • Sunday Mail (Brisbane), 18 June 1989, p 3
  • Supreme Court of Queensland, file 2980/96, Re: Perpetual Trustees Qld Ltd (Supreme Court of Queensland archives)
  • personal information.

Citation details

S. J. Routh, 'Corbould, Harold Edward (Ted) (1909–1989)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/corbould-harold-edward-ted-12355/text22197, published first in hardcopy 2007, accessed online 18 October 2018.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 17, (MUP), 2007

View the front pages for Volume 17

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2018