Today’s Cobb’s Hill Estate originates from the mid-eighteen hundreds when Cobb’s Farm and the Swamp Run, a nearly 500 acres lot of land, was part of the Vernon Park Estate at Oakbank in the Adelaide Hills.
Cobb’s Farm homestead and Cobb & Co’s journey both date back to 1854. Here’s a heritage trail of events that weave through Cobb’s Hill Estate history.
1854 – Original Cobb’s Farm homestead built on the site of today’s Cellar Door and Bed & Breakfast. Farmland used for pasture for horses, cattle and sheep, as well as horticulture.
1854 – Freeman Cobb and Partners establish first Cobb & Co horse drawn passenger stagecoach journey in Melbourne, Victoria.
1861 – James Rutherford and partners buys Cobb & Co and start rapid expansion transporting the Royal Mail, passengers and goods throughout Victoria and the Eastern states.
1866 – Oakbank meeting held to lobby for stagecoach services in South Australia.
1867 – Cobb & Co establish Adelaide office and commence routes through the Adelaide Hills.
1870 – Gold diggings established in the Adelaide Hills at Birdwood which becomes the Black Snake Mine. Creates another Gold Rush and more demand for Cobb & Co services.
1871 – Freeman Cobb starts Cobb & Co in South Africa.
1876 – Oakbank Horse Racing Club established on “blue grass” racing country. Today home to the world’s biggest picnic race meeting, The Oakbank Easter Racing Carnival.
1878 – John Hill & Co purchases Cobbs’s Farm from John Rounsevell. Both were active in the stagecoach transport business.
1890’s – Black Angus cattle introduced into South Australia. Today Cobb’s Hill Estate runs a herd of 100 prime grass fed cows plus their calves.
1895 – Tom Roberts paints “Bailed Up”, depicting a Cobb & Co stagecoach being held up by bush rangers.
1897 – Henry Lawson pens his poem “The Lights of Cobb & Co”. Celebrating the pioneering days of nineteenth century Australia and Cobb & Co’s integral role.
1924 – Cobb & Co last horse drawn stagecoach after 70 years of operations. At their peak half a century earlier they covered circa 45,000 kilometres per week across a network of 11,000 kilometres with 6000 horses.
1930’s – John Martin, Adelaide department store founder, purchases Vernon Park including Cobb’s Farm.
1940 – Oakbank celebrates its centenary, named after the Scottish district where the founding Johnston brothers came from.
1951 – First vintage of Australia’s most prestigious wine, South Australia’s world renowned Penfolds Grange.
1979 – First commercial vineyards planted in the Adelaide Hills, in the Piccadilly Valley only 10 kilometres from Cobb’s Hill Estate.
1990’s Property renamed Cobb’s Hill, reflecting Cobb & Co history,stagecoach horses owner John Hill and Cobb’s Hill landmark references.
1997 – First vineyards planted at Cobb’s Hill Estate. Now home to Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Shiraz vineyards.
2007 – Wild Ride: The Rise and Fall of Cobb & Co, published by author Sam Everingham.
2017 – Cobb’s Hill Estate opens its Cellar Door and celebrates 150 years since Cobb & Co operated stagecoaches in the Adelaide Hills.