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Cohen, Sir Edward (1912–2011)

by Paul Mishura

Sir Edward Cohen Kt (’30) was born at Malvern on 9 November 1912, the son of solicitor and Old Xaverian Harold Edward Cohen. Edward attended Scotch from 1926 to 1930. He was a 1927 Class Captain and a member of the 1926, 1927 and 1930 Athletics teams (Captain in 1930). A superb athlete, he won the under 14 100 yards by 10 yards in a record 11.5 seconds at the 1926 Athletics, breaking the shared record of 1915 and 1921 by a tenth of a second. In the same year he won the under 15 220 yards by two yards in 25.6 seconds, breaking the old record of 25.8 seconds. In 1927 he won the under 15 100 yards by eight yards in 10.6 seconds, breaking the old record of 11.1 seconds. He also broke his 1926 record in the under 15 220 yards, winning by 12 yards in 25.4 seconds. He missed the 1928 Athletics due to influenza, but as Captain in 1930 won the open 100 yards by a yard in 10.33 seconds, and the open 220 yards by a yard in 24 seconds.

Edward was a 1930 member of the Scotch Collegian editorial committee, and was a 1930 Probationer. He matriculated in 1930, winning first class honours in British History, European History, Greek and Roman History and Economics. He won one of nine government senior scholarships, and the exhibition in Greek and Roman History for coming first in the state.

Edward graduated LLB from Melbourne University in 1934 and was awarded a Blue for athletics and hockey.

On 12 September 1939 he married Meryl Derham Fink.

She died on 1 September 2010.

From 1940 to 1945 he served in the AIF and was demobilised as a captain in the 2/12 Field Regiment of the 9th Division, seeing service at Tobruk, Alamein, New Guinea and Borneo.

From 1945 to 1976 he was a solicitor and partner at Pavey Wilson Cohen & Carter, later becoming a consultant at Corrs Chambers Westgarth. Edward was a member (1959-68) and president (1965-66) of the Law Institute of Victoria.

He was a company director and chairman of a wide array of companies including being a director (1947-84) of CUB and its chairman (1967-84).

He was involved in governance and fundraising for many medical and related organisations, including being a member (1955-84) and chairman (1961-84) of the pension committee of Melbourne Legacy.

Relatives at Scotch included his brother Geoffrey Cohen (born 4 November 1908, SC 1922-25, died 11 November 1988), grandfathers Montague Cohen (born 4 August 1855, SC 1869-72, died 18 October 1931) and Samuel Gabriel Pirani (born 4 June 1853, MGS 1863-69, SC 1870-?, died 27 February 1930), son Adrian (SC 1957-68), nephews John Richard Falk (born 15 February 1941, SC 1950-57, died 6 June 2007) and James Falk (SC 1952-64) and great-uncles Henry Bonetter Pirani (born 28 June 1856, MGS 1865-67, SC 1871-72, WC 1872-?, died 16 July 1941) and Edgar Pirani (born 5 January 1866, SC 1882, died 20 October 1938). Knighted in 1970 in recognition of service to the community, Sir Edward died on 22 June 2011.

Citation details

Paul Mishura, 'Cohen, Sir Edward (1912–2011)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 29 October 2020.

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