Robert (Bob) Gosper
- Born: 9 Oct 1840, Upper Colo, NSW Australia
- Christened: 21 Nov 1840
- Marriage (1): Mary Ann Chester in 1860 in Wollombi, NSW Australia
- Died: 15 Feb 1915, "The Pines", Upper Colo, NSW Australia at age 74
- Buried: 16 Feb 1915, C of E Upper Colo, NSW Australia
"The Pragmatic Pioneers"
Jean Pulsford, herself a Gosper descendant, some years ago characterised the Gospers as people who, never told you anything that they thought you need not know. Bob Gosper carried this even further, he is reputed to have been the most taciturn of the lot; he generally never told anybody anything. It is said that when Bob was living on Gosper's Mountain, his brothers sometimes went there mustering stock. He would only stay in their company in the two-room slab cottage that he had built for himself, for a couple of days. After that, he would move to a cave some distance away, and not return until they had departed. Such was his preference for solitude, although it has been suggested that this story has been somewhat exaggerated over the years.
Robert was born at Upper Colo in 1840, the tenth child of John and Hannah. At the age of fourteen, he left the family home, and moved into a hut on a property across the river. Even at that tender age, he seems to have preferred his own company.
According to family legend, Bob once courted the daughter of a local settler, and was so smitten with her that he approached her father, and asked for her hand in marriage. Her father refused, he said that her elder sister was not yet married, and they had to take their turn. He said he could have the elder sister, but not the subject of his affection. Bob was not impressed. He returned to the peace and quiet of his little hut, and a lifetime of bachelorhood.
On 12th February 1861, at Richmond, a woman who called herself Mary Ann Gosper nee Chester, of the County of Hunter, registered the birth of a daughter Emmeline. She stated that the father was Robert Gosper; a Drover aged forty-three years. She also states that they were married at Wollombi in 1850, and that they had two male children born to them previously. Despite an intensive investigation, no record other than the birth of Emmeline has been found that refers to this Mary Ann Gosper or Chester, or her three children. Although Bob is the only
"The Pragmatic Pioneers"
Gosper of that name at that time, the age difference would make it rather unlikely, that he is in fact the person mentioned in the certificate. Perhaps somebody else was, wearing Bob's hat.
It is also said that Bob went over the mountains early in the 1870's in company with his brothers Dick, George and Charlie, and settled on a block of land in the Central West. He was apparently quite happy there until families started to move onto the blocks adjoining his own. He then decided that the district was getting too crowded, and so he pulled up stakes and returned to the tranquillity of his own mountain, deep in the heart of the Great Divide, North West of Upper Colo.
Gosper's Mountain is one of a number of basalt caps that are scattered along the spine of the part of the Blue Mountains, which is now referred to as the Colo Wilderness National Park. It was originally known as Uraterer Mountain, probably its aboriginal name, and is composed of about three hundred and seventy acres of very fertile grazing and agricultural land, at a height of eight hundred and forty seven metres above sea level. Its European discoverer is not known; it could well have been one of the Gospers; maybe even, Bob himself. Alex Colley, a pioneer bushwalker, describes his first visit to the mountain in 1931, in the following words: -
Around where Glen Davis now stands they met a Mr. Masters who told them how to get to Mount Uraterer and 'with a cheery goodbye' assured them they would get lost. They didn't, but they were impressed with the country, which was 'puzzling in its make-up and hideous in its aspect'. Describing the view from Uraterer, Alex wrote: 'I was gazing upon a segment of the most expansive cyclorama of my life, and like a dream, I realised I was on the crest of Uraterer. In the foreground there was a maze of wooded gullies and cliffs and crags. It was a scene of great wildness rather than beauty; it would make a master bushman shudder...
Bob took up his land on Gosper's Mountain on 15th March 1877, and it was here that he spent the rest of his life in splendid isolation. Joseph Came, during his geological survey in the early 1900's, visited Gosper's Mountain. He observed that Robert Gosper had cattle there and was
"The Pragmatic Pioneers"
growing corn, oats, potatoes and pumpkins for home use.
Old age eventually drove Bob closer to civilisation. He lived at Long Wheeney Creek, near Putty for a few years before eventually returning to Upper Colo. He died at The Pines, (the farm that then belonged to his nephew Bill Gosper) on 15th February 1915, of heart disease, and is buried in the Upper Colo cemetery. Even on his deathbed all Bob wanted to do was roll up his swag and return to the Mountain. He passed on his beloved Gosper's Mountain to his nephews, Wilfred Arthur (Bill) and Hilton Reid, both sons of his brother Benjamin.
The reminiscences of Keith Gosper.
"Colo Wilderness" Henry Gold and Peter Prineas 1978.
Robert married Mary Ann Chester in 1860 in Wollombi, NSW Australia. (Mary Ann Chester was born on 12 Feb 1861.)