Local Identities

Edward Cook (c1850-1941) Obituary

With the death of Mr. Edward Cook, of Cookernup, at the Yarloop Hospital on October 6, one of the oldest pioneers of the district was removed. The late gentleman was born at Somerset, England, and had passed the age of 91 years and throughout his early life sought adventure at sea. He is survived by three daughters, Dorothy (Mrs. Broad, of Morawa), Harty (Elsie) and Alice (Mrs. J. Cook, of Cookernup) and two sons, Messrs. Charlie and Jack (A.I.F., Abroad). Mrs. Cook predeceased her husband by several years. The late Mr. Cook was probably entitled to the title of the oldest inhabitant of the district as he had resided in the district for the past 50 years.

The late Mr. Cook spent his early years at sea as a purser in the P. and 0. Company’s ships. In 1890 he was travelling from Sydney to Western Australia on the “Albany” and made the acquaintance of Mr. T. Garlick, of Yarloop, and Mr. H. Bowles, of Yarloop, who were coming to Western Australia from Victoria to take up land. Mr. Cook decided to join the others and on arrival at Fremantle the trio set out on foot to search for suitable land in the South-West.

Leaving Fremantle they struck out for Jarrahwood and from there walked to Picton, through the Ferguson to Collie, and then back to Perth. After seeing and inspecting all the land possible on their long trek they decided to select land near Yarloop and took up three blocks, at what is now Cookernup, close together. Before settling on his block the late Mr. Cook went to Southern Cross to work in the gold mines, returning to his block in March, 1891. Here he took up farming and interested himself in local affairs, being a member of the Cookernup cemetery board since its inception. He was elected as a North ward member of the Harvey Road Board in 1909 and served in that capacity till 1926, the last four years as chairman of the board. In 1909 Mr. Cook was created a Justice of the Peace, which position he held up to the time of his death. The late Mr. Cook also interested himself in butchering and in timber work, and held an interest in Williams Mill for some years. Before coming to Western Australia the late Mr. Cook managed a station in the Cootamundra district of New South Wales. Despite his advanced years the late Mr. Cook was hale and hearty till about a week before his death and right to the last had full possession of his faculties. His passing leaves a wide circle of friends to mourn their loss.

The funeral took place in the Church of England portion of the Cookernup cemetery on Thursday of last week after a service at the Anglican church, Cookernup. Rev. A. H. Tassell, of Harvey, conducted both services. At the graveside Rev. Tassell referred to the useful life of the deceased and paid a tribute to the high esteem in which he was held throughout the community. The ball-bearers were Messrs. J. Lowe (chairman, Harvey Road Board), A. H. Smith (vice-chairman, Harvey Road Board), E. J. Manning (Harvey Road Board), J. Hill (Cookernup Cemetery Board), N. Buchanan (Justices Association), L. E. Rogers and C. Nicholson. The chief mourners were Mrs. J. H. Cook and Miss H. Cook (daughters). Among the large attendance at the graveside were Messrs. T. A. G. Myatt (Harvey Lodge No. 96, W.A.C.), W. R. Eckersley (Harvey Road Board), Ted Eames (Harvey R.S.L.), F. B. Trevenen (Cookernup cemetery board), M. Whatman (Cookernup cemetery board), L. Prideaux (Cookernup school), J. N. McEwin, G. Wilks, W. Fowles, L. Schock, A. L. Cunnold, A. Pitro and A. Mackey, Mr. and Mrs. R. Brescini, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Jackson, Mr. and Mrs. G. Randell, Mesdames N. Buchanan, McEwin, F. Hayward, J. Hill, D. Clarke, Judd and L. Woodcock.

Road Board Tribute. At the meeting of the Harvey Road Board on Monday last reference to the death of the late Mr. Cook was made by the chairman, Mr. J. Lowe. Mr. Lowe said that although Mr. Cook had not taken an active part on the board since 1925, he had at all times shown an interest in the affairs of the district. With his passing, said Mr. Lowe, the district had lost a man to whom it owed a great deal. It was men like the late Mr. Cook who through their utter determination and ability had pioneered and established the South-West, which we look up to today as that part of Western Australia with a great future. As a mark of respect to the late gentleman, members stood in silence following the remarks by the chairman.

(Harvey Murray Times, 16 October 1941)