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Former Member Details

Sir Joseph COOK, GCMG (1860 - 1947)

Member Photo
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
Position Start End Period Notes
Member of the NSW Legislative Assembly 03 Jul 1891 11 Jun 1901 9 years 11 months 9 days
Member for Hartley 03 Jul 1891 25 Jun 1894 2 years 11 months 23 days
Member for Hartley 17 Jul 1894 03 Aug 1894 18 days
Member for Hartley 14 Aug 1894 05 Jul 1895 10 months 22 days
Member for Hartley 24 Jul 1895 08 Jul 1898 2 years 11 months 15 days
Member for Hartley 27 Jul 1898 11 Jun 1901 2 years 10 months 16 days
Postmaster General 03 Aug 1894 27 Aug 1898 4 years 25 days
Secretary for Mines and Minister for Agriculture 27 Aug 1898 13 Sep 1899 1 year 18 days
Whaling Road, North Sydney Committee No.29 21 Dec 1891 17 Mar 1892 2 months 26 days
Working of Collieries Committee No.11 13 Mar 1894 19 Apr 1894 1 month 7 days
Old Age Pension Committee No.9 16 Jun 1896 16 Sep 1896 3 months 1 day
Accidents in Mines Committee No. 13 11 Oct 1898 23 Dec 1898 2 months 13 days
Case of Sydney Cooper as to Mining under a Road, parish of Clive, county of Gough Committee No. 17 27 Oct 1898 23 Dec 1898 1 month 27 days
Action of Mr.Chisholm, Police Magistrate at Wollongong, in the case of Morgan v. Clift Committee No. 22 21 Nov 1899 30 Nov 1899 10 days
Mine at Brindebella, owned by the Bank of North Queensland Committee No. 21 21 Nov 1899 30 Nov 1899 10 days
Case of James Cook and other employees of the Tramway Department Committee No. 23 13 Dec 1899 20 Dec 1899 8 days
Broken Hill Abattoirs, Markets, and Cattle sale Yards Bill Committee No.2 19 Jun 1900 18 Jul 1900 1 month
Administration of the Military Department Committee No.14 26 Jul 1900 01 Nov 1900 3 months 7 days
Case of William Reid Committee No.18 28 Aug 1900 20 Nov 1900 2 months 24 days
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.
Military Service
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.
Local Government Activity
Personal
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 http://primeministers.naa.gov.au/ National Archives of Australia fact Sheet 72: Joseph Cook Prime Minister of Australia 1913-14' http://www.naa.gov.au/fsheets/FS72.html