Freeman Cobb sailed out of Melbourne just 2 ½ years after founding Cobb & Co, never to return. Yet Cobb & Co is a brand name familiar to millions of Australians. With its roots on the shores of Melbourne’s Port Phillip, this story uncovers how Cobb & Co built an empire not simply around coaches – it was the Australia Post, the TNT, the Qantas and the Holden of its day, expanding into coach and buggy manufacturing as well as vast sheep, cattle stations and horsebreeding operations.
The story brings to life the human side of Cobb & Co – the powerful families who ran the empire, their larger than life personalities, private tragedies, the drivers who made the firm famous and the incredible hardships endured by passengers journeying into Australia’s heartland in an age before the telephone, the mailman, the fax machine, before rivers even had bridges. Being held up by bushrangers, having to strip and swim a river in the dead of night, being stranded on a boggy track for days were just some of the hardships of nineteenth century travel.