The central west of NSW reflects the immense changes that have occurred in the comparatively short time since Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson first crossed the Blue Mountains.
Mount Canobolas, near Orange stands testimony to this changing environment. From this vantage point, towards the south are the hills of Cadia, which provided copper ore and are now being mined for gold. On the eastern fall of the mountain are the Mullion Ranges and Ophir, the site of Australia’s first gold. To the west of the mountain are the plains of the Lachlan River and the pastoral settlements that opened up the country.
Amongst the paddocks, orchards and vineyards are the tracks of the first drays, wagons and coaches. There are signs of the first houses, the bush schools and the pioneer cemeteries.
From your base in Orange explore the country roads, the picturesque towns and the National Parks. Explore the region, learn the history and experience the present.
Cobb & Co. operated in the gold rush town of Forbes from 1862 to the 1890s. The Albion Hotel was the Cobb & Co. depot in Forbes. The tower on the hotel allowed a watch to be kept for the incoming coach, and a bugle sounded to alert the grooms to harness fresh horses.
Beneath the Forbes streets are a series of tunnels that were used to transport gold to the coaches, eliminating risk of bushranger hold ups. The Albion Hotel’s Bushranger Hall of Fame recalls the town’s colourful history.
The gold fields town of Currajong was renamed Parkes following a visit by the then Premier of NSW, Sir Henry Parkes. Clarinda Street was named after his wife.
Cobb & Co. operated Royal Mail services from Forbes to Parkes and from Molong to Parkes until 1891.
ESCORT ROCK, EUGOWRA
The most famous coach hold up in Australia occurred on 15th June 1862 at Escort Rock near Eugowra, when Frank Gardiner and his gang (including Ben Hall) bailed up the Ford & Co. Forbes Gold Escort and robbed the coach of gold and cash.
Today Escort Rock is a pleasant picnic site on the Cobb & Co. trail.
Molong was called Bell River City. A number of coach firms operated from Molong including Cobb & Co. The Cobb & Co. booking office was located in the New Royal Hotel. The coach house survives and is located adjacent to the village green in Gidley Street.
Once the crossroads for teamster and overlander traffic, the then thriving town of Murga is now a picturesque locality, with the Nangar National Park as a majestic backdrop. Cobb & Co. coaches from Orange and Forbes would meet at Murga. Passengers and mail were transferred before the coaches thundered back along the roads to their destinations.
In the early days Cobb & Co. had stables near the Coach & Horses Hotel. The hotel is now known as the Victoria Hotel, and the railway line occupies the old stables location. For fifty years the Royal Hotel in Summer Street was the Cobb & Co. booking office. The Whitney Fountain located in Robertson Park was commissioned by the NSW and Queensland employees of Cobb & Co. in memory of WF Whitney who was a director of Cobb & Co., the booking office manager, and a resident of Orange.
Visitor information for attractions in Orange and the surrounding district can be obtained seven days a week from the Visitor Information Centre, Byng Street, Orange.