Guide to the Papers of Sir Joseph Cook


MS 762

National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Collection Summary

Sir Joseph Cook
Papers of Sir Joseph Cook
Date Range
Collection Number
MS 762
0.13 metres (9 folders)
Language of Materials
National Library of Australia


Scope and Contents

Material relating to the Paris Peace Conference (1919) and the Naval Armaments Conference (1927). Also included is a file labelled 'Status of the High Commissioners', 1926. Many of the papers relating to the Paris Peace Conference were written or assembled by J.G. Latham, who accompanied Cook to the Conference. This material was donated to the Library in 1953 by Mr R. Cecil Cook, son of Sir Joseph Cook.

Conditions Governing Access

Please refer to the collection's catalogue record for the access conditions (

Conditions Governing Use

Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions. For such material, written permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s). Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.

Preferred Citation

Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], MS 762, National Library of Australia, Records of Sir Joseph Cook, [box number and series and/or file number]'.

In addition to the Cook Papers, the Library holds other manuscript collections (including copies on microfilm) which contain letters or other materials relating to Cook. This material is described in the guide 'Special collections relating to Sir Joseph Cook in the National Library of Australia', which is available online at

Biographical Note

References: Australian Encyclopaedia; Australian Dictionary of Biography; Commonwealth Parliamentary Handbook.

1860Born 7th December, at Silverdale, Staffordshire.
1873Became family breadwinner after his father's death.
1885Married Mary Turner on August 8, emigrated to Australia shortly after.
1887Employed at the Vale of Clwydd colliery, Lithgow NSW.
1891Elected to NSW Parliament as Labor Member for Hartley.
1893Elected leader of the Parliamentary Labor Party.
1894Left the Labour Party, appointed Postmaster-General.
1898-99Secretary for Mines and Agriculture.
1901-21Represented Parramatta in the Federal Parliament.
1905Deputy-leader of the Free Trade Party.
1908Leader of the Free Trade Party
1909-10Minister for Defence, and deputy leader of the newly formed Liberal Party.
191313th January, replaced Alfred Deakin as leader of the Liberal Party.
1913-14Prime Minister, Minister for Home Affairs.
1917-20Minister for the Navy in W.M. Hughes' Nationalist ministry.
1918Represented Australia at the Imperial War Conference and in the Imperial War Cabinet, along with Hughes.
1919Represented Australia at the Versailles Peace Conference
1921-27High Commissioner for Australia in London.
1928-29Chair of the Royal Commission into the Finances of South Australia as Affected by Federation.
1929Retired to Bellevue Hill, Sydney.
1947Died 30th July.

Item Descriptions

Series [unnumbered]. Peace Conference, Paris, 1919

'Ex-German colonies I, correspondence, memoranda', July 1918 - May 1919 (File 1-1a) - Box 1

Reports, cables, memoranda and newspaper cuttings about the former German colonies in the Pacific; includes a letter from Andew Fisher, and a report 'Australia's claim to the German islands'.

'Ex-German colonies II, peace clauses', Jan - May 1919 (File 2) - Box 1

Minutes and draft treaty clauses relating to the German colonies and the treatment of Germans in former German colonies; also a few letters to/from Commander J.G. Latham.

'Ex-German colonies III: Nauru', Nov 1918 - Aug 1919 (File 3) - Box 1

Memoranda, copies of correspondence, agreement between United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand for administration of the mandate over the island of Nauru,. Correspondents include Sir Joseph Cook, W.M. Hughes, and W.F. Massey (NZ).

'Ex-German colonies IV: official documents', Jul 1918 - May 1919 (File 4) - Box 1

Printed and roneoed memoranda and minutes on the future of the German colonies.

Ex-German colonies IV: official documents (File 4a) - Box 1

Comprises Xerox copies of Folder 4.

'Status of the High Commissioners', 1926 (File 5) - Box 1

File numbered 441/3/98: memoranda and letters on the status of the High Commissioners of the Dominions in London. The letters are from Sir James Allen, New Zealand High Commissioner.

Series [unnumbered]. Naval Disarmament Conference, Geneva, 1927

'Telegrams, London', 1927 (File 6) - Box 1

Roneoed telegrams, mainly between the British Delegation at Geneva and the Foreign Office.

'Telegrams, Manchester (Massachusetts)', 1927 (File 7) - Box 1

Roneoed telegrams from Sir Esme Howard (1863-1939), British Ambassador to the United States.