Return Cobb & Co To Waikouaiti

Cobb & Co in Waikouaiti

In 1861 Charles Cole landed in Dunedin on the S.S. India with a coach, five wagons, a buggy and 54 horses to establish the Cobb & Co brand in New Zealand. In the following months he began operating regular services between Dunedin and Gabriel’s Gully, then subsequently Dunedin and Waikouaiti. In the days of early settlement the importance of regular passenger and freight services between the fledgling communities was vital. Coaches were the primary means of passenger transport in the region right through until 1923 when the last service ceased.

There is an excellent example of a Cobb & Co coach on display in the Settlers Museum. This coach did not operate in Otago but connected Canterbury to the West Coast, regularly traversing the treacherous Arthurs Pass route. None of the Otago coaches survived.

Last year, Bill Lang, a Museum Conservation Engineer was commissioned to produce a replica coach for display at a Dunedin venue. When the project was approximately 80 per cent complete the commission was cancelled. The incomplete coach is currently in storage locally. The structural body of the replica is of steel construction and is reproduced to an extremely high standard. With the Cobb & Co connection to Waikouaiti and the development of the new Coast Heritage Centre we are presented with an exciting opportunity to purchase the incomplete project; complete it and mount it for display outside the new Museum building. This would brand Waikouaiti in the same way as the salmon brands Rakaia, the carrot brands Ohakune, the L&P bottle brands Paeroa and the trout brands Gore.

There is only a short window of time during which the incomplete coach could be purchased from the parties who commissioned the project. Fund raising is currently in place for the new Heritage Centre building and so it would be inappropriate to ask current donors for more funds. We have therefore established a stand-alone campaign to fund the coach project by way of a Givealittle page.

We have until the end of November to raise the $40,000 needed. We will only be successful if we have widespread support from the local community and those from further afield who value the preservation of our history. We would greatly appreciate your support by way of a pledge to our Givealittle page and by sharing the page with your wider networks. If we don’t reach the $40,000 target no pledges will be redeemed and the project will not go ahead.

Donate via Givealittle

The partially completed Cobb & Co coach replica.