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National Museum of Australia

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Thoroughbrace Coach used by the Nowland family, with accessories, trunk, spanner and jack

1986.0038.0002

Thoroughbrace Coach used by the Nowland family, with accessories, trunk, spanner and jack

Object information

Description

It is possible that this coach was manufactured by Cobb & Co., however no physical evidence remains linking the object with this company. Many coachworks existed in the latter part of the nineteenth century, and it is entirely possible that this coach was manufactured by one of those.

Physical description

A horse-drawn, four-wheeled, 8-passenger 'stage' coach. The body is built from wood reinforced with iron strips and brackets, and suspended on leather thorough braces. The roof, which is covered with khaki canvas that drops down both sides to form curtains, has a railing along the front and both sides. The body contains two transverse seats [for six passengers]. Outside there is a front box seat, and a rear shelf seat. There are three, loose, straw-filled, coated-fabric cushions, one on each of the inside seats and one on the driver's seat. A separate wooden chest sits on the rear luggage rack, which is suspended from chains. The chest has external horizontal batons and metal strap reinforcing. The wheels have wooden felloes, spokes and naves, with iron tyres and collars. Non-original features include the khaki paintwork [the underlying layer is turquoise], canvas curtains, and several other apparently repaired fittings.

Statement of significance

The 'Royal Australian Historical Society collection no. 1' consists of a Cobb & Company (?) 'Concord' coach (including swingle trees, travelling trunk and supporting archival documents) which was used to transport mail and passengers across the Liverpool plains during the 1880s. This collection also includes an early nineteenth-century landau known as the 'Ranken Coach', which was first owned by George Ranken, a prosperous Scot who settled in Bathurst during the 1820s. It is believed to be one of the oldest surviving horsedrawn vehicles in Australia.

This collection demonstrates the important role horse-drawn vehicles played in Australia's transport and communications history. As representative of both prestigious vehicles used for recreation and as a reflection of status as well as the vital role played by coaches in establishing communication systems across the country, these rare examples offer significant research potential in an examination of nineteenth-century transport, engineering and society.

Object information

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