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Cohen, Simeon (1832–1895)

Early on Monday morning last there passed away at No. 1 Dalgety-street, St. Kilda, after a very long and painful illness, one who not very many years ago was a well-known figure in the Jewish communal life of Melbourne. We refer to Mr. Simeon Cohen. Of colonists he was one of the oldest, having arrived here as far back as 1852 amongst the passengers of the S.S. Great Britain on her first trip to these shores. Soon after his arrival he became one of the partners of the firm of Messrs. John Levy and Sons, merchants of Melbourne and Maryborough, who, as merchants, carried on a large trade. Later on he joined the well-known carrying firm of Messrs. William McCulloch and Co., and for many years, up to the time of his death, he was the senior partner of Messrs Cohen, Nelson and Co., importers. But it was not for himself alone that Simeon Cohen worked. In the days of his vigorous manhood he gave much of his time and labour to the welfare of his co-religionists. He became, in course of time, president of the Melbourne Hebrew Congregation, and in that capacity did a great deal of useful work for the institution over which he presided. He bestowed much care and attention upon the Hebrew school attached to the congregation, and we remember quite well the enthusiasm which he displayed when he presided over the large gathering—so large that an adjournment had to be made from the schoolroom to the synagogue—that came to witness the annual distribution of prizes to the children of that school. Those were the halcyon days of the institution, but all too soon afterwards the interest in the school began to dwindle down, till at last the school was closed. In charitable movements Mr. Cohen was foremost, and many a movement could be named which by his indomitable zeal and energy he helped to bring to a successful issue. Somewhat brusque in his outward manners, he, nevertheless, had a very sympathetic heart, which was at all times open to the appeal for practical sympathy. He hated all outward show, and there is reason to believe that, privately, he did a great deal more good than people were ever aware of. Advancing age, with its attendant infirmities, compelled him a few years ago to retire from all communal life. Mr. Cohen was a justice of the peace, but prior to his death he gave strict instructions that the letters J.P. should not be added to his obituary notice, so much opposed was he to all ostentatious show. For many years he was also a member of the Fitzroy Council. Mr. Cohen was 63 years old at the time of his death. He was three times married, and leaves a widow and two daughters. His mortal remains were interred in the Melbourne Cemetery last Tuesday afternoon. The funeral, at which the Rev. E. Blaubaum officiated, was very largely attended, and the floral tributes sent by his friends were very numerous and beautiful.

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Citation details

'Cohen, Simeon (1832–1895)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/cohen-simeon-20742/text31523, accessed 18 August 2019.

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