By Melissa Grant
Finding Australian-made videos for kids on YouTube can be pretty difficult.
Father-of-two Rob Hobson was growing tired of his son watching clips of one particular American children’s entertainer when he and mate Anthony Carroll started making their own YouTube educational series for kids.
The series, Captain Bobbo – Educational Adventures for Kids, is distinctly Australian with backgrounds of beaches and appearances from native animals.
Rob is Captain Bobbo, a fun-loving captain who goes on educational adventures throughout Bobbo Land (Western Australia) with his pirate friend Captain Crabclaw, played by Anthony.
The pair have created entertaining videos covering fire safety, colours, counting, phonetics, excavators and bicycles.
Filming is a fun outlet for the pair, who actually work as fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) miners in the Pilbara.
They originally created Captain Bobbo as a way to connect FIFO workers to their families during last year’s Covid lockdowns.
Rob said it all started when he bought one of Anthony’s video cameras.
“He (Anthony) would come to work with these amazing travel videos – they had waterfalls, tropical islands and that sort of stuff,” he said.
“I would think his videos are amazing but I could do so much better because my life is way cooler – I go to these awesome places, I go skateboarding, surfboarding.
“I was really proud of the videos I was making. I showed Anthony and said ‘look what I’ve done’.
At this point, Anthony interjects.
“I said ‘they are terrible… wrong camera angle, shaky footage, you’re filming your feet again, the lighting is wrong’.
“So I came in and was like, ‘right we can dress these, make them a little better’. And I was thinking maybe I can hijack the videos and we can make them for my niece and nephew as well.
“It was roughly around the same time that lockdown was starting to happen… and then it evolved into putting on funny hats and Rob put on a jacket and we started making characters from it.”
However, their videos weren’t exactly an instant hit.
Anthony said his nephew and niece, who live near Beaumaris, weren’t huge fans to begin with.
“I remember the first time I showed my niece and the first intro of the episode – she started profusely crying and told me to turn it off,” he said.
“It was constructive criticism in the form of tears so we went back to the drawing board and started to put some more animations in and make it a bit more fun.”
The pair initially put Captain Bobbo on YouTube as it was the easiest way for their families to view the videos.
At the time Rob was working away from his kids for extended periods, while Anthony – who spent his childhood in Sassafras, Pakenham, Caulfield and Sandringham – was locked out of Melbourne and unable to visit his niece and nephew.
When the Captain Bobbo videos were made available publicly at the start of this year, parents started sending in videos of their kids requesting challenges.
In a little over six months, the pair had clocked up more than 23,000 views on YouTube.
The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
“So many parents and grandparents have said they don’t have to watch a certain American kids YouTube show!” Rob said.
Anthony added: “There is a lack of Australian YouTube videos for kids. Some families say their kids are speaking with an American tone or using Americanised language.”
Rob said his sons had been “semi-encouraging”, particularly his five-year-old.
“He pretends not to enjoy them, but he does ask to watch them!
“He thinks it’s normal – he asked me if all dads make videos for their kids!”