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Henry Emanuel Cohen (1840–1912)

The lamentable tidings of the sudden demise of our distinguished co-religionist, the Hon. Mr. Justice Henry Emanuel Cohen, of Sydney, came as a great shock to the members of his family and to the whole Jewish community of Australia. Mr Justice Cohen, who appeared to be enjoying good health at the time, died on board the G.M.S. Friedrich der Crosse, between Naples and Suez, while returning from a holiday trip to Europe. The cause of death was heart failure.

The late Judge was born at Port Macquarie, New South Wales, on 1st December, 1840. In 1868 he proceeded to London, and was called to the Bar at Middle Temple in 1871. In the same year he was called to the Bar of New South Wales. From 1875 to 1880, and again from 1883 to 1885, he was member for West Maitland in the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales. He was Colonial Treasurer, in the Farnell Ministry, 1877-78, and Minister of Justice in the Stuart Ministry, 1883-85, when he retired from political life, declining the proffered nomination to the Legislative Council.

The deceased, who for many years actively identified himself with the leading philanthropic and educational movements in Sydney, as well as with synagogal affairs, was chairman of the board of management of the Hospital Saturday Fund since its establishment in 1894, president of the Great Synagogue from 1884 to 1886, and a member of the committees of the Great Synagogue, the Sir Moses Montefiore Home, and the Sydney Jewish Education Board, also president of the Sydney branch of the Anglo-Jewish Association.

Much sympathy will be felt for the bereaved wife and sons, and for all the members of the late Judge's esteemed family, including his sister, Lady Benjamin, of "Canally," East Melbourne.

A special memorial service for the departed was held in the Great Synagogue, Sydney, on Tuesday afternoon, the 9th inst. The service, which was attended by the late judge's colleagues on the Bench and by a large number of representative citizens, was a very solemn and impressive one.

The late Hon. Justice Cohen, whose career on the Bench began in 1881, and who since 1896 had been a Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, was a veritable ornament not only to the Jewish community of our sister State; but to the whole of Australian Jewry. His profound learning, his ever-charming personality, his pride of race, and his long and enthusiastic self-devotion to the welfare of his faith and to the common good of his fellow-men won for him universal respect and esteem. He was a gentleman of whom our community was justly proud, whose loss has left in our midst a sad void which will not soon be filled.

Original publication

Citation details

'Cohen, Henry Emanuel (1840–1912)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 July 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


1 December, 1840
Port Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia


5 January, 1912 (aged 71)
at sea

Cause of Death

heart disease

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

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