Get Today in Masonic History into your Inbox. Sign up today for one of our email lists!

TODAY in Masonic History:

Facebook Twitter Google

Joseph Cook Passed Away

Today in Masonic History Joseph Cook passes away 1947.

Joseph Cook was an Australian politician.

Cook was born Joseph Cooke on December 7th, 1860 in Silverdale, England. He would not attend school until the passing of the Elementary Education act of 1870. Prior to that he would work in the coal mines. He would leave school again at the age of 12. His brief attendance in school would give him a taste of what he had been missing. He would dedicate himself, based on his experiences in school, to bettering himself and his position in life.

During Cook's teens he would embrace Primitive Methodism. Embracing this new religion in his life would lead him to remove the "e" from the end of his name.

Cook would marry in 1885 and shortly after the couple would move to New South Wales, Australia. Cook would become the General-Secretary of the Western Miners Association in 1887. He would become one of the founding members of the Australian Labor Party in 1891.

Cook would be elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly in 1891. It would be the first big breakthrough for the labor party. Not long after, in 1894, Cook would start to move away from the Labor party and become associated with the Free Trade Party. His shift in political views had many in the Labor Party calling him a class traitor. His new political allegiances would lead to him becoming the Postmaster-General under the George Reid Government. Reid and Cook were two very different men and would be "colleagues at a distance" as they worked together.

Cook was elected in 1901 to the first Federal Parliament. In 1908 after Reid retired from politics, Cook became the head of the renamed Free-Trade Party (now the Anti-Socialist Party). Alfred Deakin would would take over as Prime Minster and Cook would become Defense Minister in 1909 to 1910 when the Liberals were defeated by the Labor party for control of the government.

In 1913, Cook would win a one seat majority in the House of Representatives making him the 6th Prime Minister of Australia. Running his government proved difficult with such a slim majority. Cook decided to trigger a "double dissolution" under the Australian Constitution. This allowed for the complete dissolution of both the House and the Senate and a full re-election of all seats. Unfortunately World War I broke out in the middle of the elections and Cook lost seats.

In 1916, the Nationalist Party would form and Cook would be named Deputy of the party. He the Hughes Government he would be appointed Minister of the Navy.

In 1921, Cook resigned from Parliament and would return to England where he would serve as Australian High Commissioner in London until 1927.

Cook would pass away in Sydney, Australia.

Cook was a member of Lodge Independent No. 8 in Australia.