Charles Ebden – Biography


Charles Ebden

Charles Ebden was a supportive and helpful friend to Bonney, Hawdon and Eyre and did a little overlanding himself. Always fun to be around, they would seek him out. He ran successful properties but made far more money buying and selling them. Land speculation in Melbourne also added to his growing fortune.

He was something of a dandy who fancied himself as a leader of fashion. His attire in the cities was always ultra smart but very different in the bush, where he was once observed “in a most strange costume, with a fur skin jacket and cap, his beard long … very different from Mr E. in his tandem in George-street, Sydney”. He delighted in a reputation for oddity.

Having political ambitions, Ebden cultivated his moderate talent for clever speech, especially during terms in the Victorian parliament. A famous remark was that “I fear I am becoming disgustingly rich”. To a new arrival, who asked whether he was related to “the great Mr Ebden”, he replied: “I am myself, sir, that happy individual”. Despite these little affectations, he was not pompous but good company and popular. Behind his light-hearted manner, though, lay a thoughtful and conscientious man who was a leading conservative and a fervent supporter of the squatters.

He loved horse racing and dressed elegantly for major races. He could not have scripted the location of his demise more appropriately – he died at the posh Melbourne Club on the 28th October 1867, aged just 56.