|Site Foreman, Phil Heath, with Cr. David Pahlke|
BEING better able to cope with the weather is the aim of an upgrade being carried out to Ipswich’s replica Cobb and Co coach in Rosewood.
Ipswich City Council Division 10 Councillor David Pahlke said the coach had been the centrepiece of Rosewood Community Park since late August 2011. “The full-size replica coach is housed in a purpose-built display case in the park,” Cr Pahlke said. “This glass display case houses the coach when it is not in use. “While the display is sealed off to keep out vandals, the glass enclosure allows people to see the coach first-hand for themselves. “Unfortunately, with the display case being made of glass it is greatly affected by the local weather conditions with extreme heat and cold taking its toll on the Cobb and Co coach.
“We are now working to improve the shade and shelter available for the coach through an upgrade project this month.” Cr Pahlke said an external contractor hired by council, Main Constructions Pty Ltd, was extending the verandah surrounding the display case to provide additional shade in the area. He said council wanted to ensure that the display was better preserved for the future. Cr Pahlke said the upgrade would also allow the coach’s harness and bridle to be placed on display once again. “We had to remove these items several months ago as they were drying out because of the heat within the display case.” The project also includes applying new solar film to the glass, new concrete works, adjusting the clock tower and replacing temperature gauge. Work is currently underway and is expected to be completed, weather permitting, by August 16.
Cr Pahlke said the coach was part of council’s plan to revitalise the Cobb and Co tourist drive between Ipswich and Toowoomba. He said the coach was not just on permanent static display, it was also able to be removed and used for events such as parades. “The coach is also available for people to ride in and experience first-hand what it was like to ride in a Cobb and Co coach and we use the coach for rides at festivals and events across Ipswich.” Cr Pahlke said he wanted to encourage the community to come to Rosewood and see the coach for themselves. “This coach is an exact replica of the Cobb and Co coaches which travelled around Australia and were a vital part of Australia’s early history.”
Cobb and Co had a long history in Australia as the company’s coaches carried passengers, mail and parcels for 70 years in every mainland colony of Australia as well as New Zealand, South Africa and Japan. At the turn of the nineteenth century, the company operated 39 routes in Queensland, covering 7750 kilometres. Averaging two services per week on each route, Cobb and Co would harness 9000 horses and travel more than 31,000 kilometres every week. Locally, The Cobb and Co drive starts at the award winning The Workshops Rail Museum in Ipswich and finishes at the Cobb and Co Museum in Toowoomba.
Passengers and mail were transported from Ipswich by railway to Grandchester which was the end of the rail line at that time. Passengers were then picked up by a Cobb and Co coach to continue their journey from Grandchester to Toowoomba by road. The last Cobb and Co coach ran on the Yuleba-Surat route on August 14, 1924. Ipswich City Council received $83,500 from the Federal Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government through the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure program to buy Ipswich’s Cobb and Co Coach.