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Member Details

Mr John Jacob COHEN (1859 - 1939)

Member Photo
Date of Birth: 20/12/1859
Place of Birth: Grafton, New South Wales , Australia
Date of Death: 25/03/1939
Place of Death: Woollahra, New South Wales, Australia
Parliamentary Service
Position Start End Period Notes
Member of the NSW Legislative Assembly 27 Jul 1898 30 Jan 1919 20 yrs 6 mths 4 days
Member for Petersham 27 Jul 1898 11 Jun 1901 2 yrs 10 mths 16 days
Member for Petersham 03 Jul 1901 16 Jul 1904 3 yrs 14 days
Member for Petersham 06 Aug 1904 19 Aug 1907 3 yrs 14 days
Member for Petersham 10 Sep 1907 14 Sep 1910 3 yrs 5 days
Member for Petersham 14 Oct 1910 06 Nov 1913 3 yrs 24 days
Member for Petersham 15 Nov 1913 21 Feb 1917 3 yrs 3 mths 7 days
Member for Petersham 24 Mar 1917 30 Jan 1919 1 yr 10 mths 7 days
Member for Petersham 24 Mar 1917 30 Jan 1919 1 yr 10 mths 7 days
Chairman of Committees 24 Oct 1907 14 Sep 1910 2 yrs 10 mths 22 days
Speaker of the Legislative Assembly 17 Apr 1917 30 Jan 1919 1 yr 9 mths 14 days
Illawarra Harbour and Land Corporation Act Further Amendment Bill Committee No.22 02 Dec 1898 06 Dec 1898 5 days
North Shore Bridge Bill Committee No. 15 26 Oct 1898 23 Dec 1898 1 mth 28 days
Saywell’s Tramway and Electric Lighting Bill Committee No. 12 20 Sep 1898 23 Dec 1898 3 mths 4 days
Claim of Glebe Borough Council in respect of Sewerage Works Committee No.10 04 Sep 1901 09 Oct 1901 1 mth 6 days
Claim of James Ross, Pilot Boatman Committee No.18 30 Oct 1902 17 Dec 1902 1 mth 18 days
System of Municipal Government for Greater Sydney Committee No.9 20 Jun 1902 20 Dec 1902 6 mths 1 day
Miners’ Accident Relief (Bulli Fund Bill) Committee No.20 28 Nov 1902 20 Dec 1902 23 days
Sydney Harbour Collieries (Limited) Bill Committee No.9 19 Aug 1903 10 Nov 1903 2 mths 23 days
Standing Orders Committee No.3 21 Sep 1904 09 Nov 1904 1 mth 20 days
Municipal District of Cowra reduced Area Bill Committee No.8 01 Nov 1904 16 Nov 1904 16 days
Coraki Roman Catholic Church Trustees Enabling Bill Committee No.12 29 Nov 1904 06 Dec 1904 8 days
Lieutenant Governor’s Opening Speech Committee No.1 13 Jun 1905 13 Jun 1905 1 day
Moss Vale Cattle Sale-yards Bill Committee No.12 10 Aug 1905 24 Aug 1905 15 days Chairman
Standing Orders Committee No.3 28 Jun 1905 09 Dec 1905 5 mths 12 days
David Berry Hospital Bill Committee No.14 22 Nov 1906 06 Dec 1906 15 days
Standing Orders Committee No.3 10 Jul 1906 18 Dec 1906 5 mths 9 days
The Governor’s Opening Speech Committee No.1 02 Jul 1907 02 Jul 1907 1 day
Standing Orders Committee No.4 09 Jul 1907 12 Jul 1907 4 days
Standing Orders Committee No.2 24 Oct 1907 20 Dec 1907 1 mth 27 days
Standing Orders Committee No.2 13 Mar 1908 11 Apr 1908 30 days
Standing Orders Committee No.3 05 Aug 1908 19 Dec 1908 4 mths 15 days
Standing Orders Committee No.3 14 Jul 1909 17 Dec 1909 5 mths 4 days
Standing Orders Committee No.3 28 Jun 1910 20 Aug 1910 1 mth 24 days
Standing Orders Committee No.3 30 Nov 1910 23 Dec 1910 24 days
Claims of Harry K.Carpenter Committee No.16 18 Jul 1911 01 Aug 1911 15 days
Standing Orders Committee No.3 30 May 1911 01 Aug 1911 2 mths 3 days
Claims of Harry K.Carpenter Committee No.14 10 Oct 1911 22 Nov 1911 1 mth 13 days
Newcastle Iron and Steel Works Bill Committee No.11 10 Oct 1912 31 Oct 1912 22 days
Standing Orders Committee No.3 07 Aug 1912 05 Dec 1912 3 mths 29 days
Standing Orders Committee No.3 06 Aug 1913 15 Oct 1913 2 mths 10 days
Standing Orders Committee No. 4 11 Mar 1914 18 Apr 1914 1 mth 8 days
Elections and Qualifications Committee No. 2 21 Jul 1914 23 Feb 1915 7 mths 3 days
Standing Orders Committee No. 4 22 Jul 1914 23 Feb 1915 7 mths 2 days
Standing Orders Committee No. 3 02 Jul 1915 13 Apr 1916 9 mths 12 days
Elections and Qualifications Committee No. 2 01 Jul 1915 13 Apr 1916 9 mths 14 days
Church of England Trust Property Bill Committee No. 8 30 Nov 1916 21 Dec 1916 22 days
Standing Orders Committee No. 4 28 Jul 1916 21 Dec 1916 4 mths 24 days
Elections and Qualifications Committee No. 2 20 Jul 1916 21 Dec 1916 5 mths 2 days
Political Party Activity
Liberal Reform Party.
Community Activity
Founder and Treasurer of of the Queensland Institute of Architects, 1888, and a life member from 1892. Honorary Member of the Institute of Architects of New South Wales. Director Hospital Saturday Fund of New South Wales, 1893-1936. Chairman of the Metropolitan Hospitals Contribution Fund. Vice-President, Red Cross Society. Founder of the University Club 1905, and Director between 1905-1917. Chairman, Kurnell Trust. Active supported of Federation. Member of the Board of Management of the Great Synagogue, 1900 until 1938, and Treasurer in 1903.
Qualifications, occupations and interests
Lawyer (barrister). Educated at Ullamarra Public School, Grafton Grammar; Calder House, Redfern. University of Sydney. Practised as a barrister when he was elected to the Legislative Assembly. B.A (lst class honours in Mathematics) in 1879, and a Master of Arts in 1881. He also received a blue for Rugby. Was articled to Norman Self, a consulting engineer and worked with Davy and Sands, Engineers. At the same time, he studied architecture at night. In 1882, he moved to Mackay in Queensland as a consulting engineer and architect. He moved to Brisbane in 1884. In 1892, he returned to Sydney and read for the Bar, to which he was admitted in 1894. Between 1919 and 1929, he was a District Court Judge.
Military Service
Honours Received
Membership of other Parliaments & Offices Held
Local Government Activity
Personal
Son of Samuel, a storekeeper and Rosetta Manser. Married Bertie, daughter of Bertram Hollander, on 12 March 1889 and had issue, 2 sons. Jewish. Estate was valued for probate at £4,824.
Additional Information
References: Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 8. H. T. E. Holt, 'A Court Rises: The Lives and Times of the Judges of the District Court of New South Wales (1859 - 1959)', Sydney, the Law Foundation of New South Wales, 1976. J. J. Cohen, 'Judge John J. Cohen - Memoirs', n.d. [c. 1940]. A copy of this booklet is in the Parliamentary Archives: PRS 81.LA: 39 - Legislative Assembly, Special Bundles, 1879 - 1991 (Item 39). The booklet appears to have been privately printed by his widow. Text from the book: 'The Presiding Officers of the Parliament of New South Wales', Sydney, 1995 He was elected to the Legislative Assembly as the Member for Petersham in 1896 on a platform in support of Federation. Cohen held the positions of Chairman of Committees from 1907 until 1910 and Speaker of the Legislative Assembly from 1917 until 1919. He was an energetic advocate of Federation and he possessed broad mindedness and a tolerant disposition. An illustration of his tolerance was an acknowledgement of a personal apology tendered him as Speaker by a Member, saying he felt at the time that the honourable Member didn't mean it, so he would forget all about it. His controversial appointment to the District Court Bench came a day after his resignation from both Parliament and the Speakership. He died on 25 March 1939 at Woollahra, Sydney.