Old news from Armidale and New England

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Veteran coachdriver’s death

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Saturday 3 August 1929, The Sydney Morning Herald


There were few more widely known in the North than Mr Larry Madden, whose death occurred on Monday night. Mr Madden was born at Gara Station near Armidale, when there were very few white men in New England. He began driving 66 years ago on the first coach service between Armidale and Glen Innes There was no road in those days and it was a case of finding a way. Where a track could not be found one had to be cut. Mr Gabriel Wardrobe had the mail contract, and he used to run a two-horse coach. The late Mr Madden spent six years with Mr Wardrobe, and then drove a four-horse coach from Glen Innes to Armidale for Mr E Potter. He afterwards spent three years driving on the same route for Mr W W Fraser, and when Cobb and Co. bought Mr Fraser out. Mr Madden continued to drive in that service.

When the train was coming north in the ‘Seventies he drove from Glen Innes to Tenterfield, and also to Stanthorpe. He afterwards bought out part of Cobb and Co’s outfit, and continued to drive between Tenterfield and Wallangarra until the ballast train ran him out.

Another term of driving the coaches for Mr Dick Cochrane followed and the mails carried weighed on the average about three tons. Mr Madden then returned to his old employer Mr E Potter and drove on various stages along the Tenterfield to Casino road until about 30 years ago, when he drove on the Glen Innes-Grafton line. With the exception of a break of about six years on the Inverell line, he was driving on this route until the contract was lost.

On one occasion a bushranger named “The Hairy Man” conversed with him on the Inverell Bundarra road, but later rode off through the bush. That was a particularly narrow escape, for on that occasion Mr Madden had nearly £20,000 on the coach. A daughter, Miss Maude Madden, of Glen Innes, and a son (Mr Jack Madden of Sydney), survive.

Written by macalba

March 4, 2010 at 10:09 pm

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