Cobb & Co. recollections

Councillor Cameron O'Neill, Councillor Johanne Hancock, Brian Crozier, George Schwennesen, Ray Leggett, Mayor Tyson Golder, Steve Ralph and Councillor Wendy Taylor.

For twenty-five years the Surat Cobb and Co Changing Station has been serving the community and the many travellers who pass by with the rich history of the Cobb and Co days.

To honour and celebrate this milestone, the changing station has curated the special Recollections exhibit that displays an abundance of photos from the era.

Former Mayor George Shwennesen saw the concept of a museum in the old Cobb and Co store as a way to utilise a building that already had such historical significance.

Despite not having much knowledge of museums, Mr Schwennesen worked tirelessly toward the establishment of the museum that would go on to culturally enrich the town of Surat.

“Council told me it was a gamble. They told me it couldn’t cost any taxpayer money to establish which was tough.

“But in the end, everything fell into place. We did it all on grants and the museum literally cost the community nothing.”

The aquarium too was an interesting addition to the museum because the original vision was just to have one big cod in a tank but by chance, the Murray Darling Commission was looking for an opportunity to showcase the many animals of the river and so the aquarium we have today was funded and designed by Ray Leggett to showcase exactly that.

Since its opening in 1997, there have been approximately 350,000 total visitors, over 250 exhibitions in the Surat on Balonne Gallery, and several smaller exhibitions featuring private collections in the Cobb and Co store.

Recently, the complex has had an upgrade to its Visitor Information Centre with the addition of a new aquarium tank and interactive technology.

Cobb and Co Changing Station volunteer and Councillor Johanne Hancock said “whilst we love the new addition, we also love and honour the theme of our museum, which is majority technology free.

“The museum committee are committed to keeping the originality of the museum that our visitors just love.”

In preparation for the centenary celebration of the last Cobb and Co coach run at the 2024 Cobb and Co Festival, the coach house exhibition is receiving its own exciting upgrade.

Thanks are extended to the Cobb and Co museum committee, the Surat on Balonne committee, the Surat pottery and art group, and the Roma historical Car Club for making the celebrations over the weekend a success.