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Samuel Cohen (1812–1861)

by Colin Choat

Samuel Cohen, n.d.

Samuel Cohen, n.d.

from Australian Jewish Historical Society Journal, vol 3, part 1, 1949, p 22

Samuel Cohen was born in Lambeth, England on 14 July 1812, son of Barnett and Sierlah Cohen. He arrived in Australia in 1834. He started businesses in Maitland, Campbelltown and Sydney and in 1845 he and his brother, David, together with their cousin, Lewis Woolfe Levy, founded the firm of David Cohen and Company in Maitland. The firm acquired stores throughout the Hunter River and New England districts and became a prosperous business. Cohen went on to become an important landowner and businessman. In 1860, he served as the member for Morpeth in the Legislative Assembly of NSW. He was the founder of one of the key families of Sydney Jewry, with his son George Judah Cohen, grandson Sir Samuel Cohen and great-grand son, Major-General Paul Cullen playing central roles in both the general and Jewish communities.

Samuel Cohen was a member of the board of York Street Synagogue in Sydney from 1855 to 1859 and in 1859 a founder and first president of the secessionist Macquarie Street Synagogue. He married Rachel Nathan (b.1813) on 23 August 1837 and they had seven children: Sarah (b.1839), George Judah (b.1842), Charlotte (b.1844), Louis (b.1846), Hannah (b.1848) who died as an infant, Nathan Samuel (b.1850) and Bernard Samuel (b.1855).

Cohen was an esteemed member of all sections of the Maitland, New England and Sydney communities. Following his death in Sydney on 4 November 1861, his funeral cortege consisted of more than eighty carriages. Rachel Cohen died in London on 26 October 1893.

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Additional Resources

Citation details

Colin Choat, 'Cohen, Samuel (1812–1861)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 April 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Samuel Cohen, n.d.

Samuel Cohen, n.d.

from Australian Jewish Historical Society Journal, vol 3, part 1, 1949, p 22

Life Summary [details]


14 July, 1812
London, Middlesex, England


4 November, 1861 (aged 49)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

bowel 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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