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Australian History

Thursday, August 14, 1924. :   The final Cobb & Co coach makes its run from Yuleba to Surat on the Darling Downs.

     Cobb & Co was the name of Australia’s famous coach company which operated from the goldrush days of the 1850s through to the 1920s. Based on the transportation model utilised in the United States, Freeman Cobb, John Murray Peck, James Swanton and John Lamber initiated a horse and coach network to ferry passengers between the goldfields and major cities. Horses were replaced regularly at changing stations 25 to 40 kilometres apart, meaning they were fresher, and this improved travelling time over local coach lines that were running at the time.

Cobb & Co's first run was in January 1854, and departed Melbourne for the Forest Creek diggings (now Castlemaine) and Bendigo. The network of routes was quickly expanded to deal with increased demand in the growing colony of Victoria. Although it was begun as a passenger service, Cobb & Co's reputation for speed and reliable service soon saw it being used for mail delivery and gold escort as well. In 1856, the coach line was sold to Thomas Davies. In 1861 it was sold again to the man whose initiative guaranteed its success, James Rutherford, who headed an association of several business partners. Rutherford moved headquarters to Bathurst, New South Wales in 1862, to take in the goldfields west of the Blue Mountains, and the network was expanded further.

In 1866, the service began operating in Queensland, with the first Cobb & Co coach in Queensland running from Brisbane to Ipswich. Passengers took the train from Ipswich to Grandchester, and another Cobb & Co service took them from Grandchester to Toowoomba. In 1869 the network took in Gympie, where gold had recently been discovered. It expanded to central western Queensland, including Clermont and Copperfield in the 1870s, and north to Palmer River, Charters Towers and Croydon by the 1880s. During the company’s heyday, Cobb & Co coaches travelled as far as Normanton in the Gulf of Carpentaria, and to Port Douglas in the far north. Major depots were established at Barcaldine, Longreach, Winton and Charleville, the latter also becoming the site for more Cobb & Co workshops.

In the early 1920s, the development of the motor car, coupled with the changing political and economic climate in post-war Australia meant that coaches were no longer viable. The last Cobb & Co coach, number 112, ran from Yuleba to Surat, Queensland, on 14 August 1924.


Today in History

Thought For Today
... and he chose capable men from among all the Israelites. He appointed them as leaders of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens.
Exodus 18:25 (c) GNB
It's a hard thing to trust others with your work - but you must do it to expand your horizons.

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