Cobb & Co was the name of the company
that carried mail and passengers in Australia
from 1853 until the 1920s and pioneered passenger road transport in the country.
was formed by Freeman Cobb and a group of other Americans
, and their first service for a distance of only 5km, was from the city of Melbourne to Port Melbourne
. The coaches were uncomfortable, but they were well patronized. A year later the service was expanded to take diggers to the goldfields at Bendigo, In 1856 Cobb sold his share in the company
, but his name was retained. When James Rutherford became manager in 1861, he made the company
into the biggest coaching firm in Australia
. Within a year he had extended routes across the border from Victoria
into New South Wales
and operations in Queensland
began in 1865. Within another five years the company
’s coaches were traveling 4,500 km a week in three Colonies.
The first drivers were Americans
, whose experience was gained with Wells Fargo
. Soon local drivers acquired the necessary skills and became familiar and welcome figures to thousands of Australian
s in the outback. When railways replaced Cobb & Co on certain routes, the company
extended its services to more remote areas. Hotels were built to provide accommodation
at major stops on the routes which sometimes became the foundation for the towns.
bought a motor coach in 1911, but developed no practical plan to mechanize their services. As the former routes became unprofitable the coaches were withdrawn, and the railways and motor vehicles deprived Cobb & Co of their main source of revenue, its mail contracts. However, the company
continued to operate until 1924 when the last horse-drawn coach ran between Surat and Yuleba in Queensland