The Last Cobb & Co Coach service in Australia ran from Surat to Yuleba on the 14th August 1924. Established in Melbourne in the 1800s it proved to be very popular as a means of transport to the goldfields.
Soon horse-drawn coaches were used to carry passengers throughout the States. Service No. 177 became the Cobb & Co’s most famous route, running from Yuleba through Surat and on to St George. With a total of 203 km, there were changing stations situated approx every 25km. The Changing Stations allowed the horses to be swapped for fresh horses to continue the coach journey. Morning/Afternoon tea or lunch was provided by the station owners wife.
There are many stories reliving the days of the Cobb & Co coach run located in the Cobb & Co Changing Station at Surat.
Cobb and Co Postcard from Yuleba
Photo courtesy of John Senyard
Arthur Senyard – Manager of Cobb & Co Depot Yuleba – Standing with right side lead horse His son Joe may have sent the last coach to run in Australia to Canberra National Museum.
Olive Lavercombe – Girl in background at cottage of Cobb and Co Store
Alf Jensen – Coach Driver – Died of pneumonia as a result of driving during a long wet spell – left a young widow and family.
Hugh Davidson – Short man in a suit at rear of coach, local but not connected with Cobb and Co. He worked at any job he could get from time to time.
Police Sergeant Joyce was the local officer
The coach appears to be carrying the full load of 14 passengers (3 rows of 4) people inside and another two on the box seat with the driver.
On top are the mailbags, mail baskets (all parcels were transported in big cane baskets), and some luggage. More luggage at the rear and also some would have been packed under the box seat. The springs you can see along the side were not made from iron but up to 10 leather straps.
The horse team comprised of 4 pole horses, 2 each side of the centre shaft which you can see in the photo and 3 lead horses. The driver controlled the 7 horses with only 4 reins, 2 from the lead horses and 2 from the pole horses.
Cobb & Co Wall
Situated at the beginning of the Cobb & Co Way – The Cobb & Co Wall tells the stories of the coaches and details the map of Mail Service No 177, the changing stations, the drivers and the grooms. There are many old photos reproduced on the wall. The Cobb & Co Wall is situated in a park area, toilets are only a short walk towards the town centre.
was a respected and experienced coach driver. He served in the north, central-west and south-east areas for Cobb & Co. Alf died in March 1911 of pneumonia while working on the Yuleba-Surat Run as a result of driving during a long wet spell.
Alf died at the age of 39 leaving a young widow Harriet and 5 children – Katherine 14, Henry 12, Winfred 9, Cecil 5, John 2 and Harriet 1.
John Jensen, great-great grandson of Alf Jensen returned in 2009 to Yuleba to ride in the 85th Cobb & Co Celebration. John is the grandson of Cecil. In 2003, John with his father Bill and Uncle Neil and other great-great grandsons were part of the family group that erected a memorial to Alf in the Yuleba cemetery.
Alf Jensen – one of the great men who lost his life whilst serving the people of the bush.
Fred (Tommy) Thompson
was the last man to drive the Cobb & Co Coach from Surat to its final destination at Yuleba in 1924. Fred married Marjory, the daughter of Mr & Mrs Loder who operated the Waldegrave Changing Station.
On Thursday morning the 14th August 1924, with the ground being quite muddy, Fred took the reins of Coach No 141, for the last time and drove the 75 klms between Surat and Yuleba. The following Saturday Fred did the return run in a seven-seater International truck.
It was the end of an era.