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Nowland’s mail coach, 1880s

Coaches played an important part in Australia’s transport and communication history. This coach was used to transport mail and passengers in northern New South Wales. The coach may have been made by the Cobb & Co. coachworks at their Charleville or Bathurst factory. It was originally owned by the Nowland family and used on their network of mail and passenger services in the Liverpool Plains area in the 1880s.

The thorough-brace suspension on this coach, developed in America, was particularly suited to rough Australian roads. Before this, coach suspension consisted of steel springs. This was suitable for paved and cobbled roads in England, but not on rough ruts and bumps, where the coach jolted violently and the springs often broke. Thorough-brace suspension used thick leather straps that cushioned its passengers better. However the swaying and rolling motion could cause ‘sea sickness’, and many passengers preferred the box seat beside the driver.


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