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Tales of Haunted Coaches (1937)

Tales of Haunted Coaches (1937)

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Published by draculavanhelsing
The Queenslander 1937 (July 8)
The Queenslander 1937 (July 8)

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Published by: draculavanhelsing on Dec 10, 2013
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02/12/2015

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The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939), Thursday 8 July 1937, page 3, 36National Library of Australiahttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23589292
Inthe
Days
WhenCobbandCo.Were
King
oftheRoads
Romance
ofAustralia's
Coaching,
Era
Pioneers
and
Explorers
No.15byBernardCronin
IT
has
beensaidthatthere
is
no
such
levellingprocess
as
coach-travelling,particularly
when
thestages.Certainly,
itis
permitted
to
us
to
believethatthere
was
more
romance
intravellinginthe
oldcoaching
days
than
is
now
af
forded
us
by
modern
methods
oftransport.
In
Australia,
littlemore
thanhalf
a
century
ago.
bishops
androuaeabout*rubbedshouldersandconversation
on
K
tne
box
seat
withthecoach
driver.
*
There
wasco
secondclass—allpaid
the
same
and
receivedthe
same
atten
tion;
all
sat
alikeat
the
mealtable
at
stopping
places,drankfromthesamecoarse,
white
cups,plied
the
same
btock-nandled
knivesand
forks.
Mmmonocled,
lastKUousEnglish
man
going
Jackerooing;theyellow,pig-tafled
son
ofConfucius,boundfor(hegolddiggings;the
sturdy
Cousin
Jack;
even
theGoverror
of
a
cokmy,
esteemed
it
a
privilege
to
travel
by
thehorse
coach
serviceswhichdid
so
muchin
pioneering
daystowardsth«progress
of
anew
land.The
name.
 Cobband
C0.,
is
evennow
something
of
a
householdwordinAustralia.
In
1863
and
1864
it
wasaname
of
power
onall
the
goWfleWs,
a
power
on
Scarcely
a
minerbut
kept
an
eagerlookoutfor
the
gallopinghorsesand
swaying
coachthat
spun
past
with
a
cracking
of
whips
in
a
rallying
spiritto
landthemails
on
time
at
the
little
woodenpost
office.
EarlyTransport
Difficulties
TNorder
to
appreciate
fully
thegreat
x
servicesrendered
by
Cobband
Co.,
one
must
picturethestateoftheroadsatthetime.
On
thesetruly
terrible
highways
were
 glue-pots ofsuch
surpassingmalignance
that
it
wasacommon
happenirg
for
a
party
leavingMelbourneto
compass
but
a
few
milesoftravel
in
the
course
of
a
wholeday,Wherethe
Haymarket
now
stands,theroadfromMelbourneforked
to
rightand
left:
the
first
forkled
pre
cariouslytothe
Mclvor
andOvensdiggings,
on
the
routeto
Sydney;
thesecond
passedthrough
the
site
of
Remington
on
its
wayto
MountAlexander.Travellers
tugged
and
pushed
their
drays
throughmilesofclay
so
deep
that
the
axles
were
out
of
sight.
Wherethe
way
was
open,
a
quagmireofcart
tracks
spread
to
a
width
of
a
mile
or
more;
butinplaces
the
whole
of
the
traffic
was
forced
to
make
itsway
through
a
fenced
roadway
some
30ft
in
width.Here
wasto
befound
a
veritable
Golgotha.
From
thechurned
groundprotruded
thebones
of
horsesandotherstockwhichhaddied
upon
theroad,
andthe
carcase
of
many
a
vehiclewhichhadgivenupthe
unequal
struggleand
beenleft
incontirentlyto
Its
fate.
Cobband
Co.
originated
in
the
en
terprise
offourAmericans,namedFreeman
Cobb,
James
Seanson.
An
thonyBlake,and
John
Peck.
Thesefour,
early
in1853,decided
that
a
regu
 
a
larly
organised
coachservice
through
outAustralia
wasso
badlyneededthat
successwas
certain
to
follow
its
establishment.Accordingly,
withFreeman
Cobb
as
the
principal,thecompany
imported
a
number
of
coachesfrom
AmericaInstead
oftheusual
steel
springs,
the
body
ofthe
Cobb
andCo.
coach
was
slung
on
thickleathersprings,whichstretched
between
thefrontandbackwheels.
Inviewof
theroughnessof
the
ground
over
whichthe
coach
ser
viceswould
travel,this
innovation
was
peculiarly
apt.
Incidentally,
it
may
beremarked,right
upto
thetime
when
the
last
Cobb
andCo.
coach
wentoutof
com
mission
in1924,
theoriginaltype
otcoach
imported
was
adhered
to.
One
or
two
small
coach
services
were
already
in
existencewhenFreeman
Cobb
enteredthe
field.
These
all
fea,
tured
open
bodies
uponsteel
springsTheCobb
andCo.
coach
was
also
cofw
ered
againstthe
heat
or
rain.
Having
obtainedsufficient
vehicles.
FreemanCobbobtainedthebesthorsefleshpro
curableinthecolonies.Hethen
en
gaged
and
trainedhis
drivers,whose
skill
shortly
became
a
by-wordthroughout
the
Antipodes.The
first
Cobband
Co.coach
ser
vices
were
inaugurated
in
1852
in
Melbourne,and
immediatelyproved
of
tre
mendous
practical
importance,
being
admirablyequipped
forthe
roughwork
which
laybeforethem.They
had
been
running
but
a
short
while
whenGov
ernor
Latrobe,
in1863,caused£300,090to
be
expended
upontheroadsto
the
Whenthiswork
was
 
I
Scenethat
bringsback
vivid
memoriesofthe
good
old,
bad
old
days
to
 Old-timers.
;<|?mpleted,towardsthe
endof1854,
;
post
oftheoriginal
disabilities
of'gravelling
immediately
vanished.
Thefirstroutes
undertaken
were
from
Melbourne
to
Forest
Creek
and
Bendigo,
a
distance
of110miles.
The•are
w&s£5.
As
soonas
the
service
waved;
itself,
and
was
regularlyestab
lished,
thecompanysecured
theGovernment
mailcontract,and
was
ableferoudly
to
advertise
itself
as
theRoyal
JjfSilCoachLine.
:
£
Bo
handsomely
didthe
venturepros
erthatwithin
twoyearsof
setting
;to
work
FreemanCobbacquired
atofi
tunf.
Hesoldout
hisinterestandsailedforCalifornia.
Here
he.
un
fortunately,
lost
hismoney.Doubtless,.withvisions
of
repeatingthe
profit.
Ableexperience
of
hisAustralian
en
:
terprise,
he
wentto
SouthAfricaand
Inaugurated
a
coachservice
between
;
Fort
Elisabeth
and
the
Kimberleydiamond
mines.Not
very
long
afterward*he
died.
I'A
NameThat
Ha*
 
Survived
f
ALTHOUGH
FreemanCoob
wasas
'
sociated
only
briefly
with
theAus
:
traltoncoaches,bis
name
hassuf-
Tivetftothis
day.Hispartners
sold
cuttheir
interest,Hot
very
long
afterOobbto
aman
namedDaVJes.
He
in
turn
soldout;butthenewcompany
began
to
fail.
Another
American,
namedJohn
Rutherford,
'whohattedfrom
NewYorkin1862,
then,tookpossession.Underhisable
nan?gcm«nt-on
behalfof
a
syndicatewhosechiefmembers
were
A.
W.gpbgrtson,
John
Wagner.
Walter
Hall,
W.f.
Whitney,
and
Rutherfordhim*
:«shV-tb?
whole
of
thecoachline
ser
ftce
was
reorganised;
thereafter,until
ftce
was
reorganised;
thereafter,untilft*final
disbanding,followingthe
pro*
fret*
ofthe
railway
services,
it
was
thoroughly
prosperous.
'.
Itisof
interestto
notethatRuther§ot?
uponfirst
landing
in
Australia,tried
his
handat
the
Bendigo
diggings..Theroughandprecarious
life
there
apparently
did
notsuit
him.Hewent
•ojielbourne,
andthen
to
Brisbane.la
:
IBM
he
returnedto
Victoria,andfor
came
six
months
managed
a
coaching;flrm.
Shortly
afterwards
he
under
took
the
reconstructionoftheCobb
 
and
Co.services.
.
Until
the
year
1863Cobband
Co.
confinedtheir
activitiestoVictoria,but
inthat
year
It
was
deckled
to
establishtheserviceshiNewSouthWales.One
day
theresidents
of
Sandhurst—fry
which
title
Bendigo
was
then
known
—were
treated
to
a
spectacularjour
neying
forth
of
Cobb
andCo.'s
New
•outh
Wales
equipment.
This
con
sisted
of
a
cavalcade
of
108
horses,
ofWhich80
were
harnessed
among
ten
fftUy-palnted
anddecoratedcoachesand
waggons.
',
Theenterprise
was
christened
by
the'
•waking
of
a
champagne
bottle
upon
4he
twneelsof
the
leading
coach;
upon
>•
which,
amid
much
cheering,
the
start
t
flras
made.Whenwithin100milesofForbes,
two'.•bathes,with
twentyhorses,
left
the
yjaaiki
body
and
proceeded*
uponthe
'company's
missionof
opening
the
linefeetvteenForbesand
Orange.
Lines
were almost
simultaneouslyopened
at
Burjrangqng,
the
Lachlan,
and
other Centres.Thewhole
provedimmensely
,
successful'In1865'thebusiness
was
extended
to
Queensland.
Thefirstserviceinoper
atidn
was
thatinstituted
by
H.
Barnes,
*
roadmanagerofthecompany,
betweenBrisbane
and
Ipswich.
Twoyears
laterCobb
andCo.lines
were
running
BetweenBrisbaneandIpswich,
War-
Wick.Toowoomba.Dalby,
theCon4atttine,
andRoma.At
theendof1867

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