Sir Joseph COOK, GCMG (1860 - 1947)**

  • Date of Birth: 07/12/1860
  • Place of Birth: Silverdale, Staffordshire, England
  • Date of Death: 30/07/1947
  • Place of Death: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Parliamentary Service

Member of the NSW Legislative Assembly3 Jul 189111 Jun 19019yr(s) 11mth(s) 9day(s)
Member for Hartley3 Jul 189125 Jun 18942yr(s) 11mth(s) 23day(s)
15th (1891 - 1894)
Member for Hartley17 Jul 18943 Aug 189418day(s)
16th (1894 - 1895)
Member for Hartley14 Aug 18945 Jul 189510mth(s) 22day(s)
16th (1894 - 1895)
Member for Hartley24 Jul 18958 Jul 18982yr(s) 11mth(s) 15day(s)
17th (1895 - 1898)
Member for Hartley27 Jul 189811 Jun 19012yr(s) 10mth(s) 16day(s)
18th (1898 - 1901)
Postmaster General3 Aug 189427 Aug 18984yr(s) 25day(s)
Secretary for Mines and Minister for Agriculture27 Aug 189813 Sep 18991yr(s) 18day(s)
Whaling Road, North Sydney Committee No.2921 Dec 189117 Mar 18922mths 26days
15th (1891 - 1894)
Working of Collieries Committee No.1113 Mar 189419 Apr 18941mth 7days
16th (1894 - 1895)
Old Age Pension Committee No.916 Jun 189616 Sep 18963mths 1day
17th (1895 - 1898)
Accidents in Mines Committee No. 1311 Oct 189823 Dec 18982mths 13days
18th (1898 - 1901)
Case of Sydney Cooper as to Mining under a Road, parish of Clive, county of Gough Committee No. 1727 Oct 189823 Dec 18981mth 27days
18th (1898 - 1901)
Mine at Brindebella, owned by the Bank of North Queensland Committee No. 2121 Nov 189930 Nov 189910days
18th (1898 - 1901)
Action of Mr.Chisholm, Police Magistrate at Wollongong, in the case of Morgan v. Clift Committee No. 2221 Nov 189930 Nov 189910days
18th (1898 - 1901)
Case of James Cook and other employees of the Tramway Department Committee No. 2313 Dec 189920 Dec 18998days
18th (1898 - 1901)
Broken Hill Abattoirs, Markets, and Cattle sale Yards Bill Committee No.219 Jun 190018 Jul 190030days
18th (1898 - 1901)
Administration of the Military Department Committee No.1426 Jul 19001 Nov 19003mths 7days
18th (1898 - 1901)
Case of William Reid Committee No.1828 Aug 190020 Nov 19002mths 24days
18th (1898 - 1901)

Political Party Activity

Australian Labor Party (ALP). Parliamentary leader, 1893; He was a republican and supporter of the Land Nationalisation League. He served on the Labor Defence Committee during the 1890 Maritime Strike. He was President of the Lithgow branch of the Labor Electoral League in 1891. Resigned in 1894. Independent and then Freetrade, 1894; Deputy leader federal Freetrade Party, 1905; leader 1908; Deputy-leader Fusion, then Liberal Party 1909-1913; leader, 1913-1917. Nationalist Party, from 1917.

Community Activity

Qualifications, occupations and interests

Miner. From the age of nine, he worked in the coal mines and became the family breadwinner in 1873, when his father died. By the age of 25, he held all the executive positions in the union lodge. Arrived in New South Wales in 1885 and worked in the Lithgow mines, where he became a check-weighman. He also learned shorthand and book-keeping. Assisted to manage the 'Lithgow Enterprise and Australian Land Nationaliser' and did some auditing work. He was Secretary and President of the Miners' Lodge.

Honours Received

Privy Councillor in 1914. Created a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG) in 1918. Represented Australia in Versailles in 1919 and was High Commissioner for Australia in London from 1921 -1927.

Membership of other Parliaments & Offices Held

Member of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia. Member of the House of Representatives for Parramatta 1901-1921. Prime Minister of Australia 1913-1914.


Son of William Cooke (sic), a coal miner, and Margaret Fletcher. Converted to Primitive Methodist in his teens and was a lay preacher. Married Mary Turner on 8 August 1885 at Wostanton, England and had issue, 5 sons and 3 daughters. Methodist. His estate was valued for probate at £23,269.

Additional Information

Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 8 Bede Nairn, 'Civilizing Capitalism: A History of the Labour Movement in New South Wales, 1870 - 1900', 1973 J. Rydon, 'A Biographical Register of the Commonwealth Parliament 1901-1972', 1975 G. Bebbington, 'Pit Boy to Prime Minister: the Story of the Rt Hon Sir Joseph Cook PC GCMG', 1988 Bede Nairn, 'Civilizing Capitalism: the beginnings of the Australian Labor Party', 1989 John Murdoch, 'Sir Joe: A political biography of Sir Joseph Cook', 1996 National Archives of Australia, 'Australia's Prime Ministers' Website National Archives of Australia fact Sheet 72: Joseph Cook Prime Minister of Australia 1913-14'