How Bobbie the bear became a Chinese sensation

When Robert Ravens bought a run-down lavender estate in Tasmania, he never imagined his farm would become a tourism mecca... until an ingenious use for old dried lavender flowers changed everything.

Robert Ravens, a retired industrial chemist of four decades, owns one of the most famous bears in China: Bobbie. The bear is a cute purple teddy filled with dried lavender flowers from his Bridestowe estate in Tasmania. The estate has turned into a pilgrimage site for Bobbie’s fans across Asia.

However, when Ravens bought the run-down estate in 2007, he never envisaged his 265-acre farm would become a tourism mecca. “It was not taken on as a commercial proposition -- it was a restoration project,” he told Family Business.

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