This is one of the few surviving coaches directly linked to the famous Cobb & Co coach lines that began during the Victorian gold rushes.
In 1853, four young American immigrants established Cobb & Co’s American Telegraph Line of Coaches, to provide the first rapid and reliable passenger transport between Melbourne and the goldfields. Importing American ‘thorough brace’ coaches that proved ideal for rough bush roads, they broke each journey into short ‘stages’ with regular horse changes, enabling strict timetables to be maintained.
Although the original partners sold out for a handsome profit after just two and a half years, their name and methods lived on as routes were expanded throughout eastern Australia.
Believed to have been built in Geelong in about 1880, this coach was pulled by four or five horses and carried up to 17 passengers, together with mail and luggage. It is believed to be the last coach to have operated commercially in Victoria, making its final run from Casterton to Mount Gambier in 1916.
Extensively conserved by the museum, the coach is now in a condition similar to when it was first displayed in 1925.