Celebrating 100 years of Cobb & Co mail runs

By Sonia Isaacs

THIS year marks the 100th anniversary since the last Cobb & Co mail run service ran in Australia.
As part of the 2024 centenary celebrations, a special 10 day festival event will be held in Outback Queensland with local legend and Cobb & Co history buff, Steve Ralph, booked in to drive one of the teams on the Cobb & Co route re-enactment.
Not only can 71-year-old Steve Ralph tell you all you need to know about the Cobb & Co’s history, but the former toolmaker has restored several historical passenger coaches for the last 40-odd years, which he now houses in his private Glasshouse country-based museum.
“I first got interested when I came across a busted up Cobb & Co coach located in a sandhill near Barcaldine around 1983.
“I’ve always been strongly drawn to the Cobb & Co history,” he said.
“A few years back I discovered that I had a direct family connection to one of the original drivers.”
Located in what is possibly the greatest ‘man cave’ in Queensland, Steve has been working tirelessly for the last six years to recreate an exact replica of the 1860s 75 passenger horse drawn Leviathan Coach. Weighing in at around five and a half tonne, this massive labour of love is the ultimate ‘passion project’ for the Glass House Mountain local.
All going well, the hand-crafted mega-coach, which is the biggest Cobb & Co ever produced, will be ready in time for the August festival.
Steve said in 1988 he was the first person to re-enact a Cobb & Co coach route travelling from Melbourne (via Sydney and Brisbane) out to Yuleba and Surat where the upcoming centenary festival will be staged, and also created a world record by riding 24 horses with his coach between Yuleba and Surat.
For more details visit www.cobbandcofestival.com.au