Maranoa's Cobb & Co Festival

Surat and Yuleba celebrate 95th anniversary of last Cobb & Co service

Life & Style
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Did you know it's been 95 years since the last passenger service by the Cobb & Co coach in Australia?

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More than 1000 people gathered in the Maranoa region last month to celebrate the 95th anniversary of the last service by the Cobb & Co coach between Surat and Yuleba.

A unique experience that sees the region's replica Cobb & Co coach taken out of the Cobb & Co Store Museum and hooked up to horses, the week-long Cobb & Co Festival provides locals and visitors the opportunity to step back in time and travel in the coach along the 76-kilometre path of the original Cobb & Co service from Surat to Yuleba.

The festival included a re-enactment of the coach service, bullock rides, a long-table dinner, ball and concert starring Tania Kernaghan, Chris Pritchard and Terry Arnold.

Cobb and Co Festival coordinator Rhonda Toms-Morgan said the event provided the opportunity for two small rural communities, rich in culture, heritage and history, to share resources, assets and volunteers to host a tourism event of regional and national significance.

"We smashed all expectations when it comes to the number of people we had come and either participate in the re-enactment or in aspects of the whole festival that we featured," she said.

While the last service run was between Surat and Yuleba, the Festival committee was determined to involve the whole Maranoa region, spreading the event into Roma as well.

"The towns of Surat and Yuleba really tried to share the whole festival across the Maranoa by the bullock teams going to all the schools and creating that living history," Ms Toms-Morgan said.

"It's a way of sharing heritage and history in a completely new way for people.

"They certainly stopped traffic in town; you don't see that going past the Royal every day."

Ms Toms-Morgan said the festival drew thirty drivers and their carriages, including one family from as far away as Victoria.

"Community groups catered along the re-enactment run - morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, and the camp oven dinner - so it created a community event and a connection for those groups in terms of an economic boost," she said.

"In talking to some of those businesses who their main bread and butter is agriculture, and the associated businesses that our ag communities need to be viable... we've just given them a shot in the arm by having over 1000 people come through and some of them staying for a week.

"They came and they stayed for longer and that was a big component.

"It was a completely unique experience for those people in terms of what we were providing."

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