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COHEN, EDWARD:

Australian statesman; born in London 1822; died March, 1877. He received his early education in Australia, and entered into business as a partner in his father's firm. Shortly after his arrival in Victoria in 1846, he purchased an auctioneer's business at Melbourne, in which he remained till 1868, and which became one of the leading concerns in the city.

Cohen soon became connected with the charitable institutions of the colony. He was for twenty years treasurer of the Melbourne Hospital, and for seven years president of the Melbourne Hebrew congregation. He was an alderman of the city, and in 1872 served as mayor of Melbourne. His activity in the council soon brought about a financial inquiry which led to drastic reforms in the arrangement of the city accounts.

In 1861 Cohen was elected member of Parliament for East Melbourne, which constituency he represented for many years. A free-lance in politics, his arguments in debate carried weight, and his large mercantile experience lent them additional force. He was a director of the Hudson's Bay Railway Company and of the Colonial Bank, and was an active initiator of colonial industries. Cohen was at one time a member of the Victorian ministry, in which he filled the office of commissioner of customs.

Bibliography:
  • Jewish Chronicle, Jan. 14, 1870; April 27, 1877;
  • Jewish Record, Jan. 13, 1871;
  • Australian Illustrated News, Jan., 1871.
J. G. L.
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