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Sir William Charles Cooper (1851–1925)

The death of Sir William Charles Cooper, baronet, formerly of Sydney, is announced by cablegram from London. Sir William Cooper, who was the second son of the late Sir Daniel Cooper, first Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales, was in his 74th year. He was the third baronet, having succeeded to the title in 1909, on the death of his elder brother.

Sir William Cooper was born in Sydney, where, in the 'eighties, he was very well known as a landed proprietor and racehorse owner. More than 35 years ago, he decided to make his home in London, and there he resided till death. The most recent of his periodical visits to Australia ended in 1916.

The family of which Sir William Cooper was a member owned great areas of land in the Sydney of last century. Sir William Cooper's own holdings at one time included Woollahra Point, Alexandria, Waterloo, and a very large part of Redfern. He was the builder of Woollahra House, in which he resided for many years. After he left Sydney his properties were thrown open for subdivision and sale. To the end, however, he retained very large interests in Sydney suburban land. He was associated with several New South Wales companies.

Before Sir William Cooper left Australia for England his racing colours—all orange—were among those most familiar on the metropolitan courses. Racegoers will recall that good horse Silvermine, aptly named, because at the distance he appeared a real "black fellow," but close inspection showed that he was bespeckled with white hairs. Although he won a number of handicaps, Silvermine was an unlucky horse. He finished second to Ben Bolt, the Queensland champion, in the Caulfield Cup, in 1836, and second to Dunlop in the Melbourne Cup a year later. Coming to Sydney he fell in Tattersalls Cup, and his rider, Alec Robertson, who had ridden him in all his big engagements, was killed. Sir William Cooper (then Mr. Cooper), at this period, owned a very good chestnut filly named Lady Betty, and many a strenuous battle she had, with Felder in the saddle, against Consequence, ridden by Gorry. Shortly after the late D. O'Brien—of Carbine fame—brought Trenton to Australia, and the horse had finished third to Sheet Anchor and Grace Darling in the Melbourne Cup. Trenton was bought by the deceased sportsman. He was also part owner of the Melbourne Cup winner Newhaven. At the time of Silvermine's defeat by Dunlop in the Melbourne Cup, the deceased owned the bay colt Niagara, who finished a dead heat with Abercorn behind Australian Peer, when he won the Victoria Derby. Sir William Cooper imported Redfern to Australia. His horses of recent years were in charge of I. Foulsham, but in the old days T. Lamond was his trainer. Sir William was elected a committeeman of the A.J.C. in 1887, but he retired in the following year. He was always a stanch supporter of the club, and only recently he presented that body with valuable paintings of Galopin, Roi Herode, and old Trenton.

Sir William Cooper's career on the English turf has a strong link of association with Australia. He won the Oaks with the chestnut filly Perola in 1909, and she was ridden by Frank Wootton, who is now in Sydney. Sir Daniel Cooper, the late baronet's brother, won the One Thousand Guineas three years previously. In England, Sir William's racing colours were: First, orange, white hoops, white cap; second, orange, white stripes, white cap. For the greater part, his training in England was done by G. Blackwell and S. Davis.

Sir William Cooper married, in 1870, Alice Helen, third daughter of the late Mr. George Hill, of Surry Hills, Sydney. He is survived by a widow, three sons—Sir George Daniel William Cooper, now fourth baronet, Captain A. H. and Lieutenant G. M. Cooper—and one daughter, Mrs. Douglas Pennant.

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Citation details

'Cooper, Sir William Charles (1851–1925)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 July 2024.

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