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Cohen, Ida (1867–1970)

Mrs Ida Cohen, of Tamworth, died peacefully on Saturday, 24th April, 1970, at St. Elmo Private Hospital, Tamworth, N.S.W. She was 102. At the funeral, which took place at West Tamworth cemetery, Rabbi Harkaway, of Parramatta, emphasised her long life of devoted service to her family, the community and mankind. In particular she rendered untiring efforts on behalf of the Red Cross for which she received due recognition in gaining the well deserved honour of the MBE.

Ida Cohen was born in Tamworth on 27th August, 1867. She was the eldest daughter of Nathan Cohen (1842-1910) by his first wife, Esther, the daughter of Solomon Solomon. Nathan Cohen's family was remarkable and gifted, and many of the qualities of its vigour, enterprise and integrity were vested in Ida Cohen. Her great-grandfather, Emanuel Hyman Cohen, was the founder of the Jewish community in Brighton, England, and of his sons may be noted Levy Emanuel Cohen (1796-1840) who was a Journalist and Newspaper Proprietor of controversial views. Levy Cohen's younger brother, Abraham Cohen (1812-74) came to Australia abut 1835 where he married and settled to produce a large family. Apart from Nathan Cohen (Ida's father), who was himself an important personality in Tamworth and was twice Mayor of the town, the family included the Hon. Henry Emanuel Cohen (1840-1912), a prominent lawyer and politician, Fanny Cohen (1839-1912) who married Sir Benjamin Benjamin of Melbourne, and Caroline Cohen (1844-1923) who married another Journalist and Newspaper Proprietor, Solomon Joseph.

Ida Cohen lived the whole of her long life-span in Tamworth and witnessed the unfolding of the story of Tamworth Jewry which is typical of so many communities of Australian country towns. In the days of development and pioneering Jewish enterprise contributed much to the area and a small but vigorous communal life existed. Over the years the Jewish population drifted away, mainly to the State capitals, and became absorbed by intermarriage and assimilation. Mrs Cohen was one of the last remaining Jewish residents in Tamworth. Apart from her work for the Red Cross she supported many causes both Jewish and non-Jewish and was a member of the Australian Jewish Historical Society. In 1901 she married her cousin, Victor Cohen (son of George Cohen), and they had three sons: George, Nathan (d.1962) and Alan.

Original publication

  • Australian Jewish Historical Society Journal, vol 6, part 8, 1970, pp 552-53

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Cohen, Ida (1867–1970)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/cohen-ida-9777/text31792, accessed 20 June 2019.

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