Sunday, 19 June 2011

Cobb & Co

A horse and coach galloping across the outback issued in 1955 is a celebration of the company Cobb and Co, carrier of mail and gold in Australia for 75 years. Established in 1853 by four Americans who imported Concord coaches from their home country, the name comes from one of those founders, Freeman Cobb.  Eventually the coaches were built in Australia, the company grew by travelling faster than their competitors. The horses were changed at every station, 30 kilometres apart, and could travel at 12 kilometres an hour.  At its peak there were 30,000 horses travelling 45,000 kilometres a week.

One of the distinctive features of the Cobb coaches was when they operated after nightfall their lights formed a triangular shape of lamps at either side of the coach and a large central light, visible for many miles across the country. This must have looked an amazing sight as the lights travelled at speed in the dark. So much so that it inspired the poet Henry Lawson to write his evocative poem "The Lights of Cobb and Co"  ('Through stringy bark and blue gum and box and pine we go -,// A hundred miles shall see tonight the lights of Cobb and Co")

Carrying of gold from the gold fields could mean that the drivers faced bushrangers wishing to relieve them of their cargo.  This is how I know of Cobb and Co because as a child I watched the series of 'Whiplash' set in the Australian outback,  and loosely based on the life of Freeman Cob who was played by Peter Graves (later to star in Mission Impossible), fighting the baddies with his whip.  In real life Cobb returned to America to become a Massachusetts senator, later moving to South Africa to initiate a coaching system to serve the Kimberley diamond mines.  In my mind of course he is still riding the outback, whip in hand, the mail must get through....


An entry for Sunday Stamps hosted by Viridian's Postcards

8 comments:

viridian said...

Wow, more history! There is something new every week in Sunday stamps. reminds me of the Wells Fargo company origins in America.

Postcardy said...

Thank you for an interesting stamp and an informative post.

Postcard Perfect said...

wow! great stamp with a lot of history to share!

My Sunday Stamp

Lisa B said...

Thanks for the interesting historical background.

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

It's a lovely picture on the stamp and one you might associate more with the USA. And then I read there is an American connection!

Sreisaat said...

I love hearing/reading stories about the gold rush - that era fascinate me so much. Great history that goes with this stamp.

Postcards Crossing

Bob Scotney said...

I'm glad I checked out Sunday Stamps this week although I can't post any. I remember Whiplash too but would never have connected it to this interesting stamp.

Dorincard said...

Cool!