Birth Date
07 Jan 1805 (Poole, Dorset, England)

Death Date
16 Apr 1893 (Milton, Queensland, Australia)

John and Mary (nee Dirham)

Married - (1) Sarah Sanson in 1827 in London, 4 son(s), 1 daughter(s). (2) Sarah Walton on 1 August 1860.


1. Lancastrian School, Poole.

Poole Independent Church


1. Worked as an apprentice baker and then owned confectionery and baking business in London, 1827-1848.
2. Owned a bakery business in Brisbane for approximately six years from 1849.
3. Acquired large land holdings in and around Brisbane through his commission and land agency.
4. Represented East Moreton in Legislative Assembly of New South Wales, 18 June to 10 December 1859.
5. Became alderman of the first Brisbane council on 13 October 1859 and held office until 1861.
6. Represented North Brisbane in the Legislative Assembly of Queensland, 1860 to 1863.
7. Represented East Moreton in the Legislative Assembly of Queensland, 1863 to 1867.

Party and Political Activities
None (NONE)

Party Positions
1. None

Parliamentary Representation
HousePartyElectorateFromToDeparture Reason
AssemblyNONETOWN OF BRISBANE08 Dec 186030 May 1863By-election
AssemblyNONEEAST MORETON26 Sep 186301 Jul 1867Defeated


1. Cribb's family were nonconformists and foundation members of the Poole Independent Church in 1670.
2. His father, John, was killed in action at sea in the Napoleonic wars. His mother, Mary, when widowed, opened a dame's school. The family settled in Covent Garden.
3. Cribb joined the Anti-Corn Law League and was associated with the work of Cobden and Bright. Being strongly influenced by the ideas for the development of John Dunmore Lang's 'Cooksland', Robert and his brother, Benjamin, emigrated to Moreton Bay. 
4. Robert, his wife and four of their five children arrived on the first Lang ship, Fortitude, on 20 January 1849. Benjamin, his wife, three children and Robert's daughter, Mary, arrived four months later.
5. Lang's nonconformist liberal ideas made an impression on the two brothers. Robert was tagged by the press as `Robert the Restless'. He used meetings and public agitation to gain support for his policies.
6. Robert was one of the leaders of Brisbane's merchant group and a founder of the Queensland Liberal Association. He worked for separation from New South Wales. He was also a strong supporter of the eight-hour day and pursuaded some of the town's important contractors to support this.
7. Robert's first wife, Sarah Sanson, died in 1857 and he married his second wife, Sarah Walton, in 1860. 
8. He is said to be a short statured, thin man who was very talkative and contentious. He threw himself into political fights against returning to convictism, large-scale Catholic immigration, state funding of religious establishments but for manhood suffrage, national education and the separation of church and state.


1. Cribb, Margaret Bridson, 'Cribb, Robert (1805 - 1893)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 3, Melbourne University Press, 1969, pp 493-495
2. Waterson, DB, Biographical Register of the Queensland Parliament: 1860-1929, 2nd revised edition (Sydney: Casket Publications, 2001)

[Last Modified: 29 Aug 2014 14:15]

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