Cobb & Co hired good horsemen. Known as ‘whips’, Cobb & Co drivers were legendary, both admired and respected. The men controlled a team of either five or seven horses, and did it day or night, on roads or forest tracks. On a number of occasions, passengers were saved by the driver’s quick reaction as horses shied or bolted.
Ned Devine, or ‘Cabbage Tree Ned’, was notorious. Nicknamed for his hat, made from cabbage palm leaves, he trained as an ostler (stable hand) in Geelong and then drove for Cobb & Co, becoming known as the ‘King of the Highway’. He drove the ‘Leviathan’ coach, the largest in Australia, and by 1862 was earning £17 a week, a very high wage.