Cobb & Co owned many properties in the Bogan and Warren Shires and a multitude of inns, shanties and hotels sprang up along the myriad Cobb & Co tracks. This is a very pretty area, so take your camera. You can while away many an hour exploring this fascinating place.
•Buckeroo. There are Cobb & Co tracks running through this property, which lies on the way to Byrock.
•Situated north of Canonba, Buckiinguy was a property owned by Cobb & Co. The Whitney family lived there in 1863 and the grave of one of their children is on the property. Buckiinguy once incorporated the stations of Mara Creek, Benah, Morbello West, Wooloogoola, Tooloogoola, Wooloogoola West, Morbello, Grayway, Waugbundry and Wandamungay, comprising ‘Millie and The Mole’. Rutherford received Buckiinguy on Whitney’s death when the Cobb & Co properties were split up.
•Canonba (site only). Set on the banks of picturesque Duck Creek, the locality of Canonba was once known as Brownstown after John Brown, a man who built quite an empire in these parts and earned the nickname ‘King Brown’ (his magnificent two-storey residence was known widely as the ‘Palace’). In 1866, Canonba boasted a hotel, store and post office and a population of ten, which had risen to 472 by 1881. A thriving Cobb & Co town, Canonba was the terminus for the first coaches running west of Dubbo and, by the 1870s, had a total of five hotels catering for the needs of locals and travellers. The arrival of the railway at Nyngan caused the town to dwindle in importance and today, there is little to indicate that Canonba even existed – the town site is now a pleasantly leafy spot offering a superb place to fish or have a bush picnic, quietly contemplating the Cobb & Co legends that whisper all around you.
•A short drive down the Warren road from Canonba lies a cemetery which contains a few graves, mostly of children. To enter the cemetery, clamber over the stile.
•Now private property, Colane once had a store and a post office where Cobb & Co delivered the mail. WF Whitney planted two Moreton Bay fig trees here which are still growing today.
•Duck Creek Bridge. The first bridge built west of Dubbo was completed here in 1874 and was yet another example of Cobb & Co’s influence in opening up the West. It has since been replaced by a concrete bridg.
•Eenaweena Plains. A coach driver rescued a man here who was suffering from sandy blight, had neither food nor water and was almost dead. The driver took him to the Pine Ridge Hotel where he slowly revived.
•Set on the Cobb & Co route from Nyngan to Bourke, the old Girilambone General Store is almost as it was when it was built in 1883. There are marks on the door where armed bushrangers tried to break in while the staff cowered inside waiting for help.
•Larsen’s Pub (The Half Way). Situated on the track towards Monkey, Larsen’s Pub is said to have had an innkeeper who ‘not only made his own grog, but his own money’. The pub was eventually demolished and its building materials incorporated into nearby Carlton homestead (private property) - graffiti, bullet holes and all.
•Monkey Bridge and Monkey, 1.5km from Monkey Bridge, was a very popular and memorable change station for Cobb & Co. The pub there (now ruins) was originally owned by Robert Lamph, son of a Tasmanian transported convict, John Lamph; when Robert died in 1854, the building stood empty for several years. Many travellers wrote of camping out in the deserted pub in fairly primitive conditions, often sharing the space with itinerant shepherds.
•Willeroon (ruins only). There are many remnants still visible of this Cobb & Co change station on the Bourke run, including a water tank and brick chimneys, a pigsty, yards and outbuildings. ES (Ned) Hall acquired Willeroon in 1858 and it was used by Cobb & Co after 1883. Passengers were given reasonably good accommodation in a house said to be kept by a Cobb & Co groom. The mail was shifted across the Bogan by a primitive punt to a coach waiting on the opposite side.
•Click here to see a diagram of a Zig Zag fence, a special Cobb & Co fencing system that allowed a coach to travel through stock yards without the trouble of opening and closing gates.
NYNGAN TOWN CENTRE
Cobb & Co tracks still exist in the Nyngan area, as you can see from this picture. Many a passenger in days gone by would have caught a glimpse of this elderly eucalypt as the coach hurtled past on its way towards Canonba.
Cobb & Co’s private telegraph line went through Nyngan and in 1963, the Cobb & Co Centenary Trip (which was raising funds for the Flying Doctor Service) passed through Nyngan on its way from Port Douglas to Melbourne using coach number 100. Nyngan seems to have been conscious of Cobb & Co from its beginning, since many of its streets are named after important Cobb & Co towns of the past, eg Canonba, Dandaloo, Nymagee and Minore.
1. Site of the Nyngan Coach Works.
2. The Heritage Coffee Pot welcomes visitors interested in the story of Cobb & Co. Once called the Nyngan Hotel (and also known as the Commercial for many years), it was built in 1883 and is the oldest hotel in town. The owner has a collection of items from the coaching days including Cobb & Co branding irons and invites you to stop a while, yarn and relax over a cuppa.
3. Nyngan’s original post office opened on 16 September 1880 and was replaced, eight years later, by a new post office built next door.
4. The Royal Hotel once stood on the banks of the river, on the corner of Cobar and Nyngan Streets. It is thought to have been an early Cobb & Co stop.
5. Barrett’s Hotel, in Nymagee Street, had a blacksmith and stables behind it. Originally built in 1865, it burnt down and was rebuilt in 1884.
6. The Nyngan Museum is set within the old Railway Station and has a display relating to many of the buildings and people of the coaching days. You can find out more about Canonba here.
7. In the Nyngan cemetery, you will find the graves of many blacksmiths, wheelwrights and saddlers connected with Cobb & Co.
8. Nyngan Visitor Information Centre (see below).
COOLABAH TOWN CENTRE
Call at the local hotel on the highway for some local knowledge and directions to the Coolabah sites. The railway came to Coolabah in 1884 and Charles Werner built the first commercial building, the Three Legs of Man Hotel.
1. The name of the Three Legs of Man Hotel originated from the Isle of Man and was borrowed from an earlier village. Cobb & Co had stables and changed horses at Werner’s inn, as their coaches fed the railway from outlying areas. The hotel features an historic water tank.
2. In the Coolabah cemetery, you can see the grave of Charles Werner (buried 1914), founder of Coolabah, and his wife, Julia (buried 1913).
3. Coolabah Well. Once situated in the yard of the Three Legs of Man hotel, this was the largest well of its kind in Australia at the time. Pumped by a donkey engine, it was 30.80m in circumference and about 13.90m deep.
4. Dalley’s Inn (Dulley’s Inn) (site only). Today, just some posts mark the place of Dalley’s Inn, which was an important change station for Cobb & Co. Nearby is a multiple burial site, believed to be the graves of the Chinese workers killed and robbed in the factions between races in the early days of Cobb & Co.
5. Three Legs of Man (site only) This village pre-dated Coolabah and a ground tank or small lake and stones marking the old fireplaces of houses can still be seen. It was also the site of the Cobb & Co changing station, Dalley’s Inn. The village was never surveyed or actually declared a village and was situated on what was a TSR (Travelling Stock Route). Today it is privately owned.
Nyngan Visitor Information Centre
Explore the historic Nyngan district, the perfect place to break your journey See the Mid-State Shearing Shed and Nyngan Museum, enjoy a picnic beside the Bogan River. For all your tourist information needs.
Nyngan Video Parlour,
105 Pangee Street, Nyngan
Phone (02) 6832 1155
Open Sunday to Thursday 10am-6pm, Friday and Saturday 9am-6pm