From when the first of Cobb’s coaches left Melbourne until the last coach ran from Yeulba to Surat, “a nation has almost been built, and the old line of coaches played a very big part in its building. Cobb’s coaches could not wait for roads or bridges or crossings, they went out and made their own tracks for hundreds of miles. Rain, hail, or shine, mud dust or flood, it was all the same to Cobb’s drivers and wild, quiet, or medium quiet horses had to do their `stage’.”(Cobb’s Coaches, 17 Jan 1925 , p.17)
Along the tracks of Cobb and Co. Cobb’s Coach Drivers focuses on the men, and the occasional woman, who handled the ribbons. They “were no ordinary type, the men of Cobb and Co., not merely steerers of horses, but highly interesting fellows who, from long and intimate observation along their stages, through ear as well as eye… could entertain their passengers right through their journeys”. (Australianites – Cobb and Co. Drivers, 6 May 1932, p.9)
The driver was usually “a man of firmness, activity and decision, with a most intimate knowledge of every road, rut, and stump on his line-his line being a distance of a day’s drive, say about eighty miles, along which horses are changed as he travels backwards and forwards every twelve to fifteen miles, and the pace travelled at by the coaches is about 6 to 6 l/2 miles an hour whilst going, or 5 miles an hour including stoppages to change horses, and for necessary meals to passengers. (A Bush Trip, 3 Jan 1881, p.18)
Over 700 of Cobb’s drivers have been identified in this book to help ensure that the Cobb and Co. story is not “mouldering away in its own dust in some long forgotten place”. (Cobb and Co, 10 Jan 1903, p.1)
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