HIDDEN in the tranquil forest of Julatten has been a local character who - with the help of his late-wife Josephine - created a multi-million dollar international paint company.
Back in the ’60s Jim Cobb was a humble high school art teacher, helping his students be creative and sharing his passion for the craft.
“There was a new art program and it needed better art material for school and I started making school paint and it morphed into paint for artists,” he said.
“Having an art background makes it easier to figure out what paint should be - most companies have a paint chemist for house paint, they don’t know how to make artistic paint which is more complicated.
Mr Cobb opened a small factory at Kings Cross in 1965 and still has a paint factory in Sydney as well as Pennsylvania, USA, under the Chroma name, manufacturing paint specifically for artists.
The company’s success, according to Mr Cobb, was a combination of timing and making “really good paint”.
“To start a business you’ve got to be really focused and dedicated and the biggest advantage I had was timing,” he said.
“It was easier to start a business back then, and it helped having an art background and knowing how to make paint.”
Mr Cobb and his wife Josephine decided to move to Julatten 15 years ago for a sea-change from the hustle and bustle of Sydney life and ran the business from home.
“Most people want to move north to a warmer climate but move to southern Queensland - but I thought we might as well go the whole hog and go tropical living in a real tropical environment,” he said.
“With my wife, we came up here to distance ourselves from the company in Sydney and thought we’d reduce the workload but we had a fax, phones, internet and we were able to run the business from here.
“It worked quite well until my wife Josephine died, she did the hard work on the computer.
“I can’t use computers and I felt pretty miserable and thought I need a change of place.”
Mr Cobb has moved closer to the company in Sydney and is keeping himself occupied in his business and their Julatten property nestled in the rainforest is up for auction with Vista Realty on June 16.
And all these years later, Mr Cobb is still passionate about art, recently returning from Ross River Creek near Alice Springs where he painted 13 landscapes.
Time to move on: paint king Jim Cobb and (inset) his Julatten hideaway