Guide to the Papers of Sir Joseph Cook


MS 2212

National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Collection Summary

Sir Joseph Cook
Papers of Sir Joseph Cook
Date Range
Collection Number
MS 2212
0.56 metres (4 boxes)
Language of Materials
National Library of Australia


Scope and Contents

This collection is a mixture of material created by Joseph Cook, and material gathered by Mrs Mary Wood, his granddaughter. It consists of a small number of notebooks, a commission as NSW Secretary for Mines and Agriculture, an illuminated address, the text of the Treaty of Versailles, a passport, photographs, newspaper cuttings, and miscellaneous printed and photocopied material relating to Cook. The first part of this material was donated to the Library in 1968 by Mrs Wood. Subsequent material, also originating from Mrs Wood, was purchased from a book dealer in 1995.

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Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions.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 Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.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 2212, National Library of Australia, Papers 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

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

Item Descriptions

Series [unnumbered]. Material relating directly to Sir Joseph Cook

1897 Federal Convention wallet with a few notes and cuttings, 1897 (File 1) - Box 1

Diary containing political notes, 1902 (File 1) - Box 1

Diary containing political notes, 1918 (File 1) - Box 1

Appointments diary, 1922 (File 2) - Box 1

Diary containing political notes, 1924 (File 2) - Box 1

Small commonplace book, including political notes; Loose notes for speeches, n.d (File 3) - Box 1

Commission appointing Cook Secretary for Mines and Agriculture for New South Wales, and a covering letter, 1898 (File 4) - Box 1

Illuminated address presented to Cook by residents of Wallerawang on his transfer from New South Wales Parliament to Federal Parliament, May 1901 (File 5) - Box 1

Versailles Conference: Conditions of Peace [text of the Treaty of Versailles], 1919 (File 6) - Box 1

Journal of the International Economic Conference, Geneva, 5-7 May 1927 (File 7) - Box 2

Miscellaneous Documents, 1936-1938 (File 8) - Box 2

Envelope addressed to Miss C.M. Cook, c/o Bradford, England, from Sydney, 1936, containing photograph of London and message describing lodgings in London; Cabin-class passage ticket, Liverpool-Sydney, for Dame Mary Cook, 1938

Passport of Dame Mary Cook, 23 Feb 1938 (File 9) - Box 2

Photographs (File 10) - Box 2

19th century family (unidentified); Wedding photograph of Mary Cook, 1885.; Joseph and Mary Cook and three children: Mary Cook and a young boy: Cook selling the first war bonds certificate; Cook and Lady Cook (two copies: mounted and unmounted); Portrait of Cook (National Galleries of Scotland); Some statesmen of the Great War: painting by Sir James Guthrie (postcard); Cook and Lady Cook at the Opening of Parliament, London, ca 1924; Cook and another in uniform, London, ca 1920s; Launching of Australia's first Supermarine Napier aircraft by Dame Mary Cook, Southampton, 1926; Sir Joseph and Lady Cook (portraits from a magazine), 1920s

Miscellaneous papers, 1915-1947 (File 11) - Box 2

Our part: three great speeches on the war (delivered by C.G. Wade, Joseph Cook and E.D. Millen, 6 July 1915); Speech by Cook on the Treaty of Peace (bound Hansard extract), 17 Sept 1919; Federal referendums: the case for and against (referenda on aviation and marketing), 1936; Commonwealth Gazette notice of Cook's death, 1947, and photocopy with 7¢ stamp of Cook (issued in 1972) affixed; Order of service, State Funeral, Wesley Chapel, Sydney, 1 Aug 1947.

Newspaper cuttings 1918, 1927, 1947 (File 12) - Box 2

Embroidery: Chesterton Bd. School, 1880 (File 13) - Box 2

Alphabets (by Mary Cook née Turner, aged 16).

Series [unnumbered]. Material collected by Mrs Mary Wood

Photocopy of Australian High Commissioner file, comprising newspaper cuttings and memoranda, 1921-1927 (File 14) - Box 3

(Original held at Australian Archives (Series CP 268/3, Bundle 4).

'Joseph Cook': script of a play broadcast from radio station 2UE, 31 July 1947 (File 15) - Box 3

Photographs (File 16) - Box 3

Including: copy photographs of those in Folder 1; Canberra suburb of Cook; Sir Joseph's Cook's regalia; Mrs Mary Wood with Cook's regalia, Parramatta, ca 1985; photocopies of 19th-century photographs of Lithgow; photograph of 7¢ stamp of Cook.

Photocopies of land titles involving Joseph Cook or his property, 1898-1976 (File 17) - Box 3

The Bulletin 10 Nov 1962, 2 Jul 1977 (File 18) - Box 3

Newspaper cuttings and photocopies, 1904, 1910, 1927, 1955, 1978, 1985-1986 (File 19) - Box 3

Principally about the rediscovery of Cook's regalia at Parramatta in 1985.

Block of five 7¢ stamps issued in honour of Joseph Cook, with a sixth non-denominated stamp 'Joseph Cook Prime Minister 1913-1914', 1972 (File 20) - Box 3

Farewell to the Honourable Mr Justice Richard Cecil Cook, Industrial Commission of New South Wales, 1 Mar 1972 (File 21) - Box 3

With a photograph of a large house.

Photocopies of biographical material, and of 1901 ballot paper for Parramatta (File 22) - Box 4

J.R.M. Murdoch, Joseph Cook: a political biography, Ph.D. thesis, University of New South Wales, 1968 (File 23) - Box 4

'Joseph Cook in Lithgow', notes of a talk by John Murdoch, Lithgow, 1966 (File 23) - Box 4

G. Bebbington, Pit Boy to Prime Minister, University of Keele (2 copies), 1986 (File 24) - Box 4

Peter Cook, Pitboy to Prime Minister, 16 p., n.d (File 25) - Box 4

John Murdoch, Sir Joe: A biographical sketch of Sir Joseph Cook, Stoke-on-Trent, 1979 (File 25) - Box 4

James Jarvis, The beginnings of the settlement in the parish of Castle Hill, 36p., n.d. (File 25) - Box 4