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Cobb & Co.

Destined to dominate coaching in eastern Australia, Cobb & Co. began in Melbourne in 1853. Four Americans - Freeman Cobb, John Peck, James Swanton and John Lambert - started with a parcel service between the city and the port. They began a passenger run to Bendigo in 1854, and soon expanded to cover Geelong and inland centres. Cobb had come to set up a branch of Adams & Co., the coaching firm for whom he had worked in the United States. When that venture failed, Cobb started his own company. At first, he imported 'Concord' coaches from the United States. Their body was suspended on leather straps, which smoothed the ride on Australia's rough roads, and was therefore far more suitable than the heavy British coaches used by rival companies. The original owners soon sold out and only Peck stayed in Australia. The business was taken over in 1859 by James Rutherford and his partners, who reorganised and extended the Victorian services and secured the mail contracts. As the railways extended, coaches lost their importance in Victoria. In 1862 Rutherford moved the Cobb & Co. head office from Melbourne to Bathurst. Cobb & Co. coaches ran in Australia until 1924. The Melbourne Museum has a Cobb & Co. coach in its collection.

Brian Carroll

See also

Albion Alley