HE stands the test of time; on Thursday, August 1, the beloved State Coal Mine’s Welsh Mountain Pony, Cobber, turned the big 40.
According to The Australian Pony Stud Society, Sec A. Welsh Mountain Ponies only ever reach the age of 31.
Cobber was transferred to his home of the Wonthaggi State Coal Mine in 1983, after a period of pulling carts in Melbourne.
It was originally said that Cobber was relocated to the regional town after a scare which stopped him from hauling any weight.
State Coal Mine volunteer Steve Harrop said: “The historical story has said that Cobber was scared by a piece of plastic that struck him during a pull and he never wanted to partake in hauling again.”
Once settled in at the region’s coal mine, Cobber was a favourite of the miners and visitors.
He would graze in the fields and go underground as a ‘show’ pit pony but never pulled again.
“He would come underground during tours and showcase his role as a pit pony,” said Steve.
Cobber stopped his underground walk in 2004 as he grew older and just became a friendly farm animal of the State Coal Mine.
It is believed that he was born on Wednesday August 1, 1979, and according to his hot branding 6/9 and a GG over a lazy S which was registered with the Australian Pony Stud Book society, he was bred by Mr. G.K. George of Lot 102A Alston Road, Narre Warren East.
Mr George was a registered breeder of Sec A. Welsh Mountain Ponies and the breeding code of 6/9 was said to have meant that Cobber was pony number six bred and the number nine represents the year of the seventies – 1979.
This seventies’ style branding means Cobber turned 40 years old last Thursday August 1, 2019, having been recorded as the oldest living Welsh Mountain Pony.
Volunteers, part of the Friends of the State Coal Mine, Pam Adams and Jill Harrop, have cared and nurtured Cobber and say that he is truly remarkable and well loved.
“It is known that he was only four years old when he came here to us in Wonthaggi and to those travelling from near and far, mining or as visitors, they can’t believe that he is still with us today,” said Jill.
In celebration of his milestone, Cobber was fed carrots on Thursday morning in his paddock and with his old teeth, of which not many are left so it was certainly a struggle for a bite.
Friends of the State Coal Mine have been conducting considerable research into Cobber’s breeding and in doing so had artist Ellen Palmer Hubble, as illustrator, together with writer Simone van Gaalen develop a book of Cobber’s life.
Ellen, Simone, volunteers and Parks Victoria staff joined in celebrating Cobber’s birthday and invite the public to visit this Saturday, August 10, from 10.30am until 11.30am to take photos and share in this part of history.
Join in the celebration of Cobber’s renowned life span at the Wonthaggi State Coal Mine with family and friends on Saturday with musicians Keachange playing a ‘song for Cobber’.
The Sentinel-Times would also like to thank local Noelene Lyons for her insight into the history of Cobber and Marion Costello – Historian at the Australian Pony Stud Book Society, and Suellen Deane of Llanfairbryn Stud.
for the information on ‘’ COBBER ‘’
This milestone in Wonthaggi’s history will remain in many memories for generations to come.
Happy 40th birthday, Cobber!