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Montague Cohen (1855–1931)

A wide circle of friends will learn with deep regret of the death of Mr Montague Cohen, one ot the best known Melbourne solicitors and an able financier. Mr Cohen had very large business interests, and he was one of the leading commercial men of Victoria. He died at his home at Melbourne Mansions yesterday morning after a bronchial illness of less than a month's duration. Mr Cohen completed his 76th year in August.

Mr Cohen, who was a son of Mr Simeon Cohen, a Melbourne Merchant, was born in Melbourne, and was educated at Scotch College and at the University of Melbourne. He was articled to the late Mr P. D. Phillips, and on being admitted to practise he became Mr Phillips' partner. In the early eighties Mr Cohen joined Messrs Pavey and Wilson, in Queen street, and the offices of Pavey, Wilson, and Cohen were there until the building was demolished several years ago. The firm then removed to Collins House. For many years Mr Cohen was a member of the council of the Law Institute of Victoria, and he had been its president.

Mr Cohen was associated with many leading companies. He was one of the founders of the Foster Brewing Company, of which he was a director. He was mainly responsible for the amalgamation of the city breweries in June, 1907, when the Carlton, McCracken's, Victoria, Castlemaine, Shamrock and Foster's Brewing companies were merged into the corporation known as Carlton and United Breweries Pty Ltd. Mr Cohen took the chief part in the negotiations which led to the amalgamation, and it was largely because of his tact and determination that the plan was carried to a successful end. Subsequently he was mainly responsible for the Melbourne Co-operative Brewing Company joining the orginisation. As chairman of the Liquour Trades Defence Union he did much work for the interests of the trade. He was also president of the Brewers' Association and of the Federal Liquor Trades Association of Australia.

In the Foster Brewing Company Mr Cohen was closely in touch with Mr A. de Bavay, whose system of pasteurisation was highly successful, and he became associated with Mr de Bavay in the formation of the Amalgamated Zinc Corporation, established to work the tailings of the Broken Hill mines. Mr de Bavay's refining process revolutionised mining at Broken Hill. In litigation which attended the use of the patent, and in the financial arrangements, Mr Cohen took a leading part. Later he did valuable work in the foundation of the Zinc Producers' Association Pty Ltd. He was a director of that organisation, and of Amalgamated Zinc (De Bavay's) Limited, the Electrolytic Zinc Company of Australia Limited, Minarals Separation and de Bavay's Processes (Australia) Pty Ltd, Carlton and United Breweries Limited, John Sharp and Sons Ltd, Adelong Gold Estates, the Australian Mines and Metals Association, Mining and Metalurgical Co Ltds, the Manufacturers' Bottle Company of Victoria Pty Ltd, and other companies. He founded the Swan Brewery Company, and for 40 years was chairman of directors – a position in which he was succeeded by his son.

Interesting himself keenly in amateur sport, Mr Cohen was president for years of the Victorian Amateur Athletics Association, of which he was a generous patron. The success of the 10 mile cross-country championship race was largely due to his efforts, and interest in it was stimulated by a handsome challenge shield, which he presented. He was one of the founders of the Amateur Sports Club, and, retaining his interest in it, was one of its trustees.

Mr Cohen married Miss Annie Cohen, daughter of Mr Edward Cohen, who was Minister for Customs of Victoria at a period before Federation. He is survived by his widow, and by one son, Colonel Harold Cohen, M.L.C. In February of this year Mr and Mrs Cohen celebrated their golden wedding anniversary.

Original publication

Citation details

'Cohen, Montague (1855–1931)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 23 April 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


4 August, 1855
Collingwood, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


18 October, 1931 (aged 76)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death

kidney disease

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