Lo­cal (Baulkham Hills) Man calls the first Dou­ble Dis­so­lu­tion of Par­lia­ment

Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - News -

A men­tion of Cook Street, Baulkham Hills in one of my Face­book groups (Hills District Mem­o­ries) brought to mind the po­lit­i­cal ca­reer of Joseph Cook af­ter whom the street was named who be­came Prime Min­is­ter be­tween June 1913 and Septem­ber 1914.

Joseph Cook resided on Windsor Rd, North­mead near the present day McDon­alds, his home named “Corovo” stood where “The Wil­lows” Re­tire­ment Vil­lage now stands.

Fol­low­ing his elec­tion to the Pres­i­dent of the Lith­gow La­bor Elec­toral League, Cook sought elec­tion to the NSW Par­lia­ment and be­came the La­bor mem­ber for Hart­ley in 1891. He be­came leader of the Par­lia­men­tary La­bor Party in 1893.

Dur­ing 1893-1894 a split oc­curred in the party with Cook and most other La­bor mem­bers of Par­lia­ment break­ing away from the La­bor move­ment.

Af­ter Fed­er­a­tion, Joseph Cook sought elec­tion to Fed­eral Par­lia­ment con­test­ing the new Fed­eral seat of Par­ra­matta which at that time took in a vast area con­sist­ing of most of the Hills, Par­ra­matta, the Blue Moun­tains and stretch­ing as far west as Lith­gow.

Par­ra­matta there­fore con­tained Cook’s old seat of Hart­ley.

The elec­toral pop­u­la­tion of the seat was only 12,194 a far cry from to­day’s ever grow­ing pop­u­la­tion for the same area.

Cook was suc­cess­ful in his at­tempt to en­ter Fed­eral pol­i­tics.

In 1906 he de­cided to move to a more ex­clu­sive part of his elec­torate and moved his fam­ily to Windsor Rd, North­mead. The de­ci­sion to move to Windsor Road may have been prompted by a redistribution of elec­toral bound­aries which also took place in the same year.

A new elec­torate of Ne­pean was carved out of the western por­tion of Par­ra­matta, which in­cluded Hart­ley, Lith­gow and the Blue Moun­tains.

Cook’s new seat of Par­ra­matta now con­sisted of Syd­ney’s Up­per North Shore, the Hills, Par­ra­matta and the Cen­tral Coast in­clud­ing The En­trance and Gos­ford.

By 1909 Cook was leader of the “Free Traders” and joined his party in coali­tion with Al­fred Deakin’s Lib­er­als.

By Jan­uary 1913, Cook was then Deputy Leader of the Lib­er­als took over the lead­er­ship from Deakin and in the fol­low­ing elec­tion (June 1913) de­feated An­drew Fisher’s La­bor Party.

Thus, Joseph Cook be­came Prime Min­is­ter of Aus­tralia.

Joseph Cook cre­ated his­tory twelve months later by an­nounc­ing the first dou­ble dis­so­lu­tion of the Fed­eral Par­lia­ment, claim­ing he was un­able to gov­ern with a hos­tile Se­nate and a bare ma­jor­ity of one in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. (It seems some things re­main the same still more than 100 years later)

At the sub­se­quent elec­tions held in 1914 Cook’s Lib­er­als were de­feated by Fisher’s La­bor Party.

Cook went on to form another coali­tion be­tween his Lib­er­als and Billy Hughes’ newly formed Na­tional La­bor Party. This coali­tion be­came the Na­tional Party a fore­run­ner to to­day’s Lib­eral Party.

Cook re­tired from pol­i­tics in 1921 to take up the po­si­tion of High Com­mis­sioner in Lon­don un­til his re­tire­ment from that po­si­tion in 1927.

Af­ter his re­turn from Lon­don he lived at Belle­vue Hill un­til his death in 1947

Don’t for­get to con­trib­ute your mem­o­ries and also any old pho­to­graphs that you would like to see pub­lished in this mag­a­zine’s “as we were” sec­tion.


You can write about child­hood mem­o­ries of where you may have grown up or mov­ing into the area. Tell us about your school days. Where you worked, played or went on hol­i­days; your first car; that first date, get­ting mar­ried or maybe the his­tory of your fam­ily, group or or­gan­i­sa­tion in the district. This page is about mem­o­ries so tell us yours.

If you have some great mem­o­ries, or per­haps you be­long to a lo­cal com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tion and would like to share your or­gan­i­sa­tion’s his­tory or story with us then feel free to share your mem­o­ries or ex­pe­ri­ences by writ­ing to 17 Rose St, Baulkham Hills, NSW, 2153 or email to ivor­jones@hill­sto­hawkes­

You can also share mem­o­ries on any of my Face­book mem­o­ries groups in­clud­ing Hills District Mem­o­ries at face­­o­ries or Hawkes­bury Hap­pen­ings & Mem­o­ries at face­ Hawkesmem­o­ries.

Joseph Cook (sec­ond from left) and Mary Cook (right) meet the peo­ple of Par­ra­matta, New South Wales on 2 Novem­ber 1913, the 125th an­niver­sary of its foun­da­tion.

Joseph Cook in 1914

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