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Cocks, Fanny Kate (1875–1954)

Miss Kate Cocks, MBE, SA's first policewoman, died in Memorial Hospital today after a short illness. She was 79.

The name of Kate Cocks became known throughout the world when in 1915 she was appointed as a woman police officer.

She was the first police woman in Australia and the first in the world to have the same powers as a police constable.

Miss Cocks, christened Fanny Boadicea, was born at Moonta in May, 1875.

She began her career as a schoolteacher and in 1902 was attached to the Children's Welfare Department as a probation officer. After 13 years, she was transferred to the South Australian Police Department.

In 1920 her work among women and girls had proved so successful that she was appointed Principal Police Matron. Four years later, her title was changed to that of Principal of the Women Police.

By this time her work was being closely followed by police departments all over the world, and it was not long before similar organisations were set up in America and throughout the Empire.

Miss Cocks retired from the Police Department in May, 1935, to look after her sick mother.

During her service, she was awarded five honorable mentions by the Commissioner of Police, and in 1935 was awarded the MBE for her welfare work.

After her retirement, Miss Cocks took on the double job of looking after the very young and the very old. At the Methodist Home Mission's hostel for the aged at Payneham, Miss Cocks was an active worker. At Brighton she founded and became honorary superintendent of a home for babies.

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'Cocks, Fanny Kate (1875–1954)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/cocks-fanny-kate-5705/text35410, accessed 16 September 2019.

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