Joseph Cooper (1833-1903)

The Cooper family orginated in a small village called Castle Bromwich, now a part of the sprawling city of Birmingham. Maria Cooper (Bluck) from Shropshire Joseph Cooper married Maria BLUCK on 29th July 1855 and together with their young son William Bennett Cooper they emigrated to Victoria in 1856, settling in the Geelong/Colac district.

Maria was born in 1828 in Bishops Castle, a village in Shropshire very close to the Welsh border. Joseph and Maria had 9 children, 6 of whom survived to adulthood.

Joseph Cooper from WarwickshireThe Colac and District Historical Society provided some detail on Joseph's life in Colac. "Joseph Cooper came to Colac about 1860 and became part owner with EJ Belyea of a building and undertaking business. The firm dissolved in 1875 and Cooper opened a butcher's shop which after a few years he sold".

Advertisment appearing in the Colac Herald - August 1870, Joseph Cooper property situated on the boundary of the township and the common, known as the Leeks.
Belyea and Cooper, Builders, carpenters and undertakers, Murray St. Colac.

Joseph and Maria and their son Tom moved to Tasmania sometime around 1886. I presume that all the other children (Harry, Joe, Alce and Ada) apart from the eldest William, moved to Tasmania at the same time.

The Mercury Newspaper June 10 1903 "Death notice COOPER on June 9 at Augusta Rd, Joseph dearly beloved husband of Maria Cooper. Funeral notice will appear in Thursdays paper". Maria survived her husband by only three years, she died on 11 Sep 1906 and is buried in Cornelian Bay Cemetery Section W Church of England no 213 with her husband.

William Bennett Cooper (1855- )

William was the only child of Joseph and Maria's to be born in the UK (London Sept 1855). He travelled with them to Australia in 1856 and his home from then on was in Victoria. He married Alice Lucas in 1882 and two years later they had a son named William Bennett Lucas Cooper. Gordon Stanley CooperSadly Alice died soon after child birth and young William lived to be only 4 years of age.

"The Colac Herald" reported on the 5th Aug 1884. We regret to learn that Mr WB Cooper, butcher of Camperdown sustained a severe bereavement on Friday by the death of his wife who was confined that day. Mrs Cooper was well know in the Colac and Camperdown districts and her early death will be regretted by a large number of friends and acquaintances......

In 1886 William married again, this time to Alice Hoskins Miller and in the same year they had a healthy son named Gordon Stanley Cooper. I know Gordon kept in touch with the Cooper family in Tasmania as I have a photo of him (shown here) and some postcards he wrote to his Aunties.

Alce Cooper (1857-1939)

Alce was born on the 5th November 1857 in the district of Geelong so this date gives me a starting point for finding exactly when Joseph, Maria and young William arrived in Australia. She married a Geelong school teacher names James Duncan Watson on the 1st Jan 1890 in the family church, St John's Church of England in New Town, Tasmania. They had no children that I am aware of and spent some of their life roaming the world. I have a post card album with many cards sent to their niece Adie (my grandmother) from Sydney, Geelong, London and India.

Cooper women Alce and James Watson seated front
Image above shows Cooper
sisters Ada (back right)
and Alce (front right)
Estimated c1906
Image above shows Alce
and her husband James Watson
seated at the front
Stamped London, date unknown

When I was sorting family treasures in the 1980's I came across some items which I donated to the Geelong and Colac Districts History group. I still have some photos of people I believe to be from that area (some have no names on the back). I also have a photo of a property called "Ewerby" which may be in this district also. I am happy to share these if anyone is interested.

Alce died in Hobart at the age of 81 years. She was cremated at Cornelian Bay Cemetery in Hobart although it does not record where her ashes lay. There is no record of James' burial so far in Tasmania.

Harry Cooper (1860-1923)

see Harry's page

Joe Cooper (1862-1948)

Joe Cooper c1940s
Joe was the third son born to Joseph and Maria, arriving into the family on 15th January 1862. He remained a batchelor, my mother told me stories of being tasked with looking after him when he was an old man. I expect she was referring to the early 1940s. Joe was a horseman and was at one time "Clerk of the Course" at the Elwick Race track in Hobart. We had some of his "special clothing" from that time but donated them to the Tasmanian Museum for safe keeping. When Joe died on 30th March 1948 in Hobart the major benefactor in his will was his nephew William Cooper.

Tom Cooper (1864-1891)

Tom was born on the 10th July 1864 in the Geelong district and grew up there, only moving to Tasmania c1886 with his parents. During a vist back to Colac in 1891 he took ill and died in the home of one of their friends. He was just 27 years old. His death certificate states he had no occupation so I wonder if he had been a sickly child/young man?

Tom Cooper c1881 The Colac Herald reported on 13th Feb 1891...."On the 12th Feb at Manifold St., Tom 4th dearly beloved son of Joseph and Maria Cooper of Hobart, formerly of Colac, in his 28th year."

The friends of Mr Tom Cooper will regret to hear of his sad end. Being on a visit from Tasmania to Colac he was spending a few days with the family of Mr HM Hearn when serious symptoms of illness manifested themselves on Sunday last. Dr Foster was called in and not withstanding the hopeless character of the case did all that medical skill could devise to avert the impending calamity. Dr Brown also assisted Dr Foster. It should be mentioned that Mr Hearn, the Missess Hearn, Mrs Belyea and others were unremitting in their solicitude for his welfare and did their best to supply his mother's place. It will be a great blow for his parents who were long and favourably known here. The funeral as will be seen by advertisement in another column will take place this afternoon at 4.30pm.

Tom was buried in the Colac Church of England Cemetery with his younger sister Eva.

Emma and Edwin Cooper (1867-1867)

Twins who died in infancy. Edwin on 16 Oct 1867 and Emma on 30 Dec 1867. They are buried at the Geelong Eastern Cemetery in the Church of England section.

Ada Ann Cooper (1869-1922)

Ada Ann Cooper born 1869
Ada was born on 14 September 1869 in the Geelong district. She married Oscar PARSONS in 1909 in Hobart when she was 39 years old. Their daughter Alice Lucy Parsons was born in May 1910. Ada was a horsewoman who owned a beautiful horse called "Maori Chief". It is her story I tell in the story about "Grandma's Bracelet".

She was only 55 years old when she died on 22nd Sept 1922 in North Hobart. Ada is buried at Cornelian Bay Cemetery.

Eva Cooper (1872-1876)

Eva was born in Feb 1872 and died at 4 years of age on 30 Aug 1876. She is buried at the Colac Church of England Cemetery.

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