State coach or 'Square Landau' fitted with four hard rubber tyres and metal leaf spring suspension. Drawn by 2 or 4 horses with driver seated in front of passengers. Painted dark blue with the Australian Coat of Arms on each door. Thought to have been brought to Australia by Lord Hopetoun, Governor General, in 1901. Made by Hooper & Co. Limited, London, about 1900.

Transferred from the State Library of Victoria. The coach was donated to the State Library in about 1954 by Mr Ralph Wilson of the Willow Tin Co. which produced 'Willow' brand metal kitchenware. It is believed that the Willow Co acquired the coach from Mr Sam Opat of Brighton, who had obtained it from an unknown source. During World War II, fuel rationing encouraged the Willow Kitchenware Co to reintroduced horse teams for the delivery of products from their North Melbourne factory to city warehouses and shops and the crossbred Percheron horse teams became such a distinctive part of the company's identity that they were retained for publicity purposes until 1958. According to Ken Opat, it was through this connection that Mr Wilson got to know about the coach because Sam Opat had originally approached the Willow Co about providing horse teams to work with the former State Coach when it was displayed at public events around Melbourne.

Physical Description

Enclosed carriage, painted black, red and yellow, with a detachable seat at the front for the driver and an elevated seat at the rear. There are two interior seats. The vehicle has a black leather canopy with an opening at the top centre. There is one half door at either side of the carriage, and windows in textile covered wooden frames which slide out of recesses in the doors. There are two small rectangular glass windows at the rear of the cabin.

More Information