The Cobden Story

The Cobden Story

The Cobden Story is a series of signs that interpret key buildings, people and places around town.
Pick up a map and see them all!

Cobden’s unique history as the “making centre” of one of Australia’s most productive dairy regions is one of the subjects interpreted in a series of storyboards around town that share the unique “Cobden Story.”

Start the trail at Wedge Buslines storyboard at 64 Victoria Street, on the northern side of Cobden. Find out about Davy Wedge and his entrepreneurial endeavours. From here, the trail will lead you south towards Cobden Lake where you will learn about the beginnings of the Cobden Angling Club and the life Alma McDonald who’s experience spanned from WWII plane spotting to a Bush Nursing board member. Still within the Cobden Lake precinct you will find the storyboard for Tom & Ida Webster, dedicated residents who, together, contributed more than 700 hours annually to the service of St Johns Ambulance along with donating time to other community and charitable organisations.

Continue south on Victoria Street towards Silvester Street, to the Cobden Civic Hall for the Rotary Club of Cobden storyboard. The Rotary Club of Cobden dates back to 1966. Turn left at the Cobden Primary School and follow Silvester Street through to Walker Street until you reach the Curdie Street roundabout and find the Gaut Motors storyboard, 1 Curdie Street. Walking west along Curdie Street, towards Victoria Street, you will find the Cobden Port Office, 21 Curdie Street. The Cobden Post Office opened in 1867 on its present site. The Postmaster R.H. Roberts’ annual salary was £20. An express wagon would take mail to and from Camperdown three times per week.

Parlour’s Hardware, storyboard #8, is located at 40 Curdie Street. From Yorkshire, England, the Parlour family ran the business for four generations over 63 years.

Continue to discover how TS McQuinn & Son Plumbing came to be and the journey from Stan McQuinn’s arrival in Cobden at the tender age of 3, in 1902, to his son, grandchildren and great grandchildren who continued the family legacy. You will find this storyboard at 58 Curdie Street, close to the intersection with Adams Street.

53 Curdie Street, Bill Roberts Blacksmith. Bill, son of one of the earlier settlers of Cobden, he started his career as an apprentice blacksmith in 1927 and later inherited the business. Along with blacksmithing, Bill was a farrier and a wheelwright.

Travel south on Adams Street and take a right turn on to Parrott Street, you are starting your journey towards the final 5 storyboards of this series. There are 3 storyboards outside the Cobden Recreation Reserve, the first is that of Thorold Merrett who ‘from an early age, it was obvious that he was going to be a star — it was just a matter of which sport’. Then on to Jim and Marie Oborne, prominent members of the Cobden community, who dedicated time to volunteering and fundraising for the local clubs.

The 3rd storyboard at the Recreation Reserve is for Peter ‘Plumber’ Walsh who has helped to re-write medical journals. The father of five and grandfather of 17 defied the odds by becoming Australia’s first-ever (and the world’s oldest) hand transplant recipient. Despite Peter not meeting all the preferred criteria, a team from St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne was encouraged to carry out the intricate and challenging surgery.

On to the 2nd last stop of The Cobden Story and Vagg Park on Curdie Street. James Henry Vagg was one of Cobden’s first settlers and oldest pioneers. He was the oldest surviving son of George Tilly Vagg and Ann Harding, who were the first of the Vaggs’ to migrate to Australia from Somerset in 1842.

And lastly, on to the Cobden Miniature Railway on Grayland Street. The miniature railway was established in 1995 after John Wiggins and Alan ‘Sarge’ Hart dreamed of its existence. Enthusiast John was told by ‘Sarge’ to go ahead and design the track while he took care of acquiring the necessary funds! So John and another experienced engineer John Riches got to work pegging out the new Cobden Miniature Railway. Five years later, in 2000, the railway was officially opened.

Call in to the Cobden Visitor Centre to pick up a brochure and find out about the remaining 35 storyboards that are in the making!
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday | 10am – 3pm | 17 Curdie St, Cobden

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Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Great Ocean Road region the Wadawurrung, Eastern Maar & Gunditjmara. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging. We recognise and respect their unique cultural heritage and the connection to their traditional lands. We commit to building genuine and lasting partnerships that recognise, embrace and support the spirit of reconciliation, working towards self-determination, equity of outcomes and an equal voice for Australia’s first people.