Cobb and Co

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Ned Devine and The Great Leviathan drawn by the famous 12 greys in Malop Street, Geelong, where for some years the office of Cobb & Co. was situated. The passengers were members of Stephenson's English Eleven, 1862. Geelong Advertiser, 08 July 1955.
Advertisement from the Ballarat Star, 16 November 1893.

Contents

Background

Four young Americans, Freeman Cobb, John Peck, James Swanson and Anthony Blake, were sent to Australian in 1853 to establish a carrying business to the gold diggings, but they quickly saw the opportunity to start a line of coaches, so instead of goods they decided to carry people. They formed a company themselves under the name Cobb and Co. Assisted by another American, George Train, they imported several coached, suspended on leather springs, and adapted to bush and rough roads at a landed cost of 3000 pounds each.[1]

Under contract they they had the responsibility of carrying the Royal Mail. [2]

In May 1856 the original firm sold out to Thomas Davis, and during the next two years the business changed hands many times until it was purchased by a syndicate of six people headed by James Rutherford, another American who arrived in Melbourne in 1852. [3]

The opening of the railways with cheaper fares and faster travel eventually forced the coaches off the roads and Cobb and Co. looked for fresh fields in the unexploited regions of New South Wales and Queensland.[4]

History

The first Cobb and Co. service coach route to the diggings left Melbourne on 30 January 1854, to Forest Creek (Castlemaine) and Bendigo. The distance was 110 miles and the fare was five pounds. The service was popular and it was decided to expand to other diggings. Soon after the service expanded to include the the Great Leviathan coach between Geelong and Ballarat. by 1860 Cobb and Co. coaches extended to Hamilton, Portland, Albury, Echuca, Swan Hill and Deniliquin. [5]

The Great Leviathan was built in Ballarat by James Davis Morgan. It made its initial trip from Ballarat to Geelong on 31 December 1859. It was hailed as the word in passenger transport luxury. It was drawn by a team of 12 greys, splendidly groomed, and resplendent in polished harness and mountings, with rosettes of pale blue on their ear bickles. It moved off to the crack of the drivers whip to the cheers of the crowd. On the way to Geelong several stops were made while Mr Morgan braced up the leather straps and applied anti-friction grease to the heating axles.[6]

The Great Leviathan was the premier coach in Victoria for six years, until it was sold to an Adelaide buyer in March 1865 for 70 pounds.[7]

Site

The Geelong depot for Cobb and Co. was in Malop Street near the then Black Bull Hotel, later the Grand Central Hotel. [8]

Innovations

Cobb and Co. imported several coached, suspended on leather springs, and adapted to bush and rough roads at a landed cost of 3000 pounds each. The coaches required expert drivers, so the company imported drivers who culd handle six, eight and 12 horses from the box seat of a swaying coach. Quick to learn, Australians soon mastered the art of handling the reins.[9]

Works Produced

Workplace Relations

The People

Ned Devine, or Cabbage Tree Ned, was one of the most famous Cobb and Co. coach drivers. He was considered the most expert coach driver of his day.[10]

Legacies

On 06 July 1955 a stamp issue commemorating Cobb and Co. was released.[11]

See also

Road Transport

Notes


References

  1. Geelong Advertiser, 08 July 1955.
  2. Geelong Advertiser, 08 July 1955.
  3. Geelong Advertiser, 08 July 1955.
  4. Geelong Advertiser, 08 July 1955.
  5. Geelong Advertiser, 08 July 1955.
  6. Geelong Advertiser, 08 July 1955.
  7. Geelong Advertiser, 08 July 1955.
  8. Geelong Advertiser, 08 July 1955.
  9. Geelong Advertiser, 08 July 1955.
  10. Geelong Advertiser, 08 July 1955.
  11. Geelong Advertiser, 08 July 1955.


Further Reading

External Links



--Clare K.Gervasoni 09:37, 22 July 2016 (AEST)

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