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2 corrections, most recently by doug.butler - Show corrections


Mr. Ebenezer Cooke, Commissioner of Audit, died at 8.30 a.m. on Tuesday at his residence, South-terrace. For 24 years Mr. Cooke had been one of the most prominent men in the pub- lic service, and he was universally regarded as one of the most expert of the financiers and auditors of the State. It was his capacity for dealing with figures and his unvarying attention to details in the matter of State accounts which really led to his selection as one of the first two Com- missioners of Audit in 1883, his colleague being the late Mr. A. Heath. Mr. Cooke devoted years' of his business life in South Australia to accountancy work, and he was the manager of the English and Australian Copper Company from 1862 until 1882, when he resigned in order to take the Govern- ment appointment. , In addition to his knowledge of financial matters Mr. Cooke rendered great service to the State as a member of the House of Assembly for a number of years. He was first elected to the House on March 1, 1875, when he headed the poll in the district of Flinders, his colleagues being the late Mr. P. B. Cog- lin and the late Mr. John Williams. Three years later he was re-elected for the same district, but this time the late Mr. W. R. Mortlock took the place of Mr. Williams. At the general elections m 1881 Mr. Cooke was once more successful, his fellow-mem- bers on this occasion being Mr. Mortlock and Mr. A. Tennant. He continued to re- present the district until October 24, 1882, when he resigned to take the position of Commissioner of Audit. During these years Mr. Cooke was a most regular attendant in the House, and he developed a reputation as an analyst of budget speeches. He was not fond of debating ordinary subjects, but when matters were before the House in which financial questions were involved Mr. Cooke was listened to with the utmost at- tention by all parties, because he used to study his.subjects so fully and seemed to be able to fathom every point involved. His attention to detail became almost weari- some at times, but it all went to prove the true value of the' man as a student of finan- cial subjects. When the Royal Commission on Finance was appointed in 1880 Mr. Cooke was chosen as chairman, and the creation of tne Commissionerships of Audit was the outcome of the investigations of that body. The Act providing for the new   officers was passed in 1882, and the Govern- ment/were successful in urging Mr. Cooke to place his services at the disposal of the State as one of the first Commissioners, He resigned his Parliamentary seat in October, 1882, and on February 12, 1883, was ap- pointed with the late Mr. Heath. They worked together harmoniously and to the advantage of the State for many years, and when Mr. Heath retired an amending Act was passed dispensing with one of the Com- missioners. From that time Mr. Cooke acted as sole Commissioner up to the time of his death. The deceased gentleman had been connected with the Masonic order for many years, and had filled various high offices.   On April 24 Mr. Cooke was granted eight months' leave of absence on full pay. He had been in poor health for a long time, end his death was not a surprise to his friends.

Mr. Cooke was married twice, and his widow is a sister of Mr. W. Herbert Phil- lipps. There are three sons (Messrs. E. F. Cooke, an accountant, of Melbourne; W. E. Cooke, M.A., Government Astrono- mer oí Western Australia; and J. H. Cooke, Mayor of Unley; and three daughters (Miss Cooke, a Church of England missionary in India; Mrs. A. C. Dancker, of Western Australia; and Miss F. E. Cooke, Mus. Bac, of Adelaide).

The Premier (Hon. T, Price), at the re- quest of the Governor, forwarded the fol-

lowing letter to Mrs. Cooke:-"I am de- sired by his Excellency the Governor to express to you his heartfelt sympathy with you and your family in your sad bereave-


The Chief Secretary (Hon. A. A. Kirk- patrick), on behalf of the Government, wrote as follows to Mrs. Cooke:-"I wish   to express to you and your family the sin- cere sympathy of the Ministry in your sad bereavement. By the lamented death of your husband the Public Service has lost a valued, faithful, and respected official, and the State an honored citizen.-'