Arthur Alfred Clement Cocks

Born
1862
Died
1943
Profession
Merchant, Company Director

Terms served on Council

Title Council From To
Alderman City of Sydney 1906 1914
Lord Mayor City of Sydney 1913 1913
  • Sir Arthur Alfred Clement Cocks, 1862-1943 (City of Sydney Archives, NSCA CRS 54/270)
  • Lady Cocks, wife of Sir Arthur Alfred Cocks (City of Sydney Archives, NSCA CRS 54/565)

Family background

Arthur Alfred Clement Cocks was born on 27 May 1862 at Wild Duck Creek, near Heathcote, Victoria. He was the fourth son of English migrants Thomas Cocks, farmer, and his wife Elizabeth, nèe Adams. He married Elizabeth Agnes (d.1936), daughter of Charles and Margaret Victoria Gibb, on 17 September 1884, and had a son and a daughter, all of whom predeceased him. Arthur Cocks died on 25 April 1943 at Mosman, NSW, and was buried in the Congregational section of the Northern Suburbs Cemetery.

Occupation & interests

Arthur Cocks was educated at Richmond Public School, Victoria, leaving at 14 to work in a warehouse. He worked in several capacities before establishing his own firm in Sydney, Arthur Cocks and Company Ltd, jewellers and opticians, and was the managing director until 1939. By 1914, the company had branches in Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane. He was a trustee of the Savings Bank of NSW. Cocks was a director of several companies including the Australian Alliance Assurance Company and the City Bank of Sydney. Despite promoting censorship and temperance, he invested in the film industry and was the director of Spencer’s Pictures Ltd, Union Theatres Ltd, the General Film Company of Australia Ltd, and Australasian Films. He was appointed Agent-General in London in 1925, resigning in the same year. He also served as the executive commissioner at the British Empire Exhibition.

Community activity

Cocks was president of the Sydney Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of the Importer’s Association from 1916 to 1918. He was a member of the Sydney Rescue Society from 1905 and of the Citizens Referendum Six O’clock Closing Association in 1916. He was Chairman of the Royal Commission into the question of the constitution of a greater Sydney in 1913. He served as director of the Benevolent Society of New South Wales, 1913-19, as a board member of the Carrington Centennial Hospital for Convalescents, Camden, and as president of the Young Men’s Christian Association 1924-34. He was a Member of the New South Wales Board of Health from 1916 until 1919. He was a leading Congregationalist layman, being a member of the Protestant Federation and deacon, superintendent of Sunday schools, and conductor of Bible classes.

Parliamentary service

Cocks was elected Member of the Legislative Assembly for St. Leonards from 1910 to 1920 and for the North Shore from 1920 to 1925. Between 1921 and 1925 he was the State Treasurer.

Honours & awards

Arthur Cocks was made a Knight of the British Empire (KBE) in 1925.

Local government service

Arthur Cocks was elected Alderman for Lang Ward, 1 December 1906 to 20 January 1914. He was a member of the Finance Committee, 1907-14; the Street Signs Special Committee, 1908; Works Committee, 1907; Queen Victoria Building Special Committee, 1910-11; the Electric Lighting Committee, 1907-12 and 1914 and its vice-chairman in 1910 and 1912. He became Lord Mayor in 1913 and chaired the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the question of a greater Sydney in the same year. Together with Sir Thomas Henley, he was instrumental in forcing the State government to use the Government House exclusively as the residence of the governor. Cocks was a founding president of the Citizens? Reform Association in 1921. He was vice-president of the Nationalist Party from 1921 to 1925, and served as a Councillor of the Nationalist Party from 1931 until 1932.

References

Greta Gerathy, ‘Cocks, Sir Arthur Alfred Clement (1862–1943)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/cocks-sir-arthur-alfred-clement-5704/text9643, accessed 22 January 2013.

City of Sydney Archives: Aldermen’s Files: Photos CRS 54/270; 54/567; and THC 88/919

Parliament of NSW. Former Members, Sir (Alfred) Arthur Alfred Clement Cocks

Who’s Who in Australia 1955

Citation

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http://sydneyaldermen.cosstaging.net.au/alderman/arthur-cocks/

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