Importance of Cookson
I was a journalist who wrote a set of articles for the Sydney Sun about the KellyGang.
I was born in Leeds , Yorkshire in 1869
I came to Victoria with my parents, Francis Cookson and Elizabeth, nee Tiplady in 1880.
I was the oldest of five children, there was Harry, Arthur, Mary and Margaret. Another baby was born after we moved to Bendigo, Elizabeth, but she died as a baby.
My father became ill and never worked again. My mother taught music but her income was low so I had to go to work when I was 13. I was treated badly in my first job and this affected my eyes and I had to stay inside in the dark to recover. My mother found me a better job on a Castlemaine newspaper where I had to board but could not go out on Sundays because I had no money to buy a coat. It was probably these early experiences that drew me to favour the underdog.
During my life I married three times. My first wife was Laura Holman and we had four children Clarence Brian, Francis, and Lilian who all died in infancy then Laura died too.
In about 1902 I was living in Bairnsdale and I married Lillian Florence Hamilton, from Western Victoria . We had four children, Sydney who died in infancy, Inez, Beryl and Vera. .
In 1912 their mother was accidently shot dead in our home in Sydney. Lillian and I both enjoyed competitive shooting and a gun misfired. The three young girls were looked after at Gaynor school in Bronte, I later came back for the older two but the youngest one stayed with the school and was told I died in the Great War.
I lived an unsettled life, had many different jobs and moved around a fair bit. I managed a theatre, wrote a children’s book, patented some small inventions, made trout flies and devised cryptic crosswords. My main jobs were in newspapers and when I died in 1942 I was proofreading at the Labour Daily. I had been married to my third wife, Matilda Mary Ann McMurray for about 23 years. She had no children.
In 1910 the Sydney Sun sent me and a cameraman to Kelly Country to interview the survivors and published a series of articles.
I died in in Sydney in 1942 .