Keeping the lights on Cobb and Co.
It had been locked away from view in a Council shed somewhere, but thanks to the Golden Memories Millthorpe Museum, people now have a chance to view an important relic of Central West history.
Orange Regional Museum’s historic Cobb and Co coach was centrepiece exhibit when the museum first opened, but it had since been relegated to storage to make room for other exhibitions.
But today, the coach has found a new home where it can once again be in the public eye.
“I was approached by a member of the Friends of the Orange Museum who said let's get this back out on display rather than stuck in storage,” said President of the Golden Memories Millthorpe Museum, Bruce Chapman.
“So, we approached Orange Council and they said here it is. We came to an agreement and we've cleared a spot for it in our transport section with all the other buggies and sulkies.
“It's another showpiece and a beautiful piece of equipment, so it blends in very well here. And otherwise it would be in storage and no one could have a look at it.”
The coach is not quite an original; rather it’s a 1960s reconstruction built from authentic parts in a former coach factory in Toowoomba.
“The builder was one of the last coachmakers around, so he cobbled together bits and pieces that he had in his factory or in sections of coaches that he found and cannibalised them to make it,” said Allison Campbell, Orange Regional Museum Manager.
“It is fantastic that we have the opportunity to share it with the community again and we are really grateful to the Millthorpe museum for opening up some space in their display for us. It doesn’t quite fit in the current exhibition that we have at the museum, so it is really great and really appreciated. This coach is representative of a very pivotal part of NSW history with Cobb and Co and the expansion of the transport networks in response to everything that was happening out here with the Gold mining boom the rush of humans out to this part of the world.”
The Golden Memories Millthorpe Museum is an extraordinary example of forethought and a hard work. Founded in 1965, the volunteer run museum is home to more than 15,000 pieces, the majority of which have been sourced from within the Millthorpe district.
It includes nine separate display halls, filled with pieces telling the story of our region’s past.
“People don’t realise how big it is,” said Bruce, who feels strongly about preserving these physical links to the past.
“Where else are you going to see it? There are so many things here, that if they are not put into a museum, they are lost forever.”