honor role

Hobbs, Joseph John Talbot

KCB, KCMG. VD, Croix de Guerre.

Joseph Hobbs was born in London in 1864, CoE. In England, while studying architecture, he served as a volunteer with the 14th Cinque Ports Artillery and maintained this interest in the militia when he migrated to Western Australia.   Hobbs’ next of kin was his wife, Edith Anne Hobbs, of The Bungalow, Keane St, Peppermint Grove. In later years, this historic residence and its neighbours were demolished to make way for a businessman’s mansion. At the outbreak of the Great War fifty year-old Colonel Hobbs was given command of the AIF First Divisional Artillery and landed with his troops at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. He followed the war to France and was present at the battles of Poziers, Mouquet and Villers-Bretonneux.  Apart from his military fame, Hobbs was a noted architect and associated with the design of the Western Australian State War Memorial in Kings Park, the old Swan Brewery, Church of Christ Claremont, Cottesloe Beach Hotel and the northern section of the Western Australian School for Deaf children in Curtin Ave, in addition to as a number of residences in Cottesloe and Peppermint Grove.  In 1931 the Cottesloe sub-branch of the RSL received its Charter and General Hobbs was a foundation member and its patron until his death in 1938. He was the principal speaker at the 1932 District Anzac Day ceremony, held in the grounds of the Anzac Hostel, at Keane’s Point and he praised the Australians who served in the Great War adding, ‘If the Australian soldier had never done anything but what was done on the Peninsula, he would always live in history.’ Hobbs, in association with the Buckland Hill (later Mosman Park) sub-branch of the RSL, took an active role in planning Mosman Park War Memorial on a beautiful site overlooking the Swan River. He suffered a heart attack on 21 April 1938 while en-route to France to unveil the Australian War Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux. General Sir Talbot Hobbs’ war-time honours include: Companion of the Order of the Bath, and Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George and The White Eagle with Sword was presented by the King of Serbia. Joseph Hobbs’ biographer, C.P. Firkins wrote of him, ‘He died a notable soldier, a worthy citizen, a great Christian gentleman, and a sincere friend of all who had been privileged to know him.’(Western Portraits, UWA Press 1979, p. 158). It was reported that two sons served at Gallipoli with their father. No service file was found for Athol Hobbs who, after the war, resided at 40A View St. Peppermint Grove. On Remembrance Day, 11 November 1940, 1500 WW1 veterans led a march through Perth to the Esplanade for the unveiling of the Sir Joseph John Talbot Hobbs’ Memorial in a place of honour to watch over military parades on the Perth Esplanade for all time.  2011 saw the last Anzac Day service on the Esplanade and the Hobbs memorial was removed to the Barrack Street fringe of what was left of the Esplanade.