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Cook, Henry ('Harry')

Harry Cook was born at Major's Creek but was educated at North Goulburn School where he was dux and got a book prize, which sadly has been lost. When only a young man, and without any formal training, he became a pupil teacher and then a registered teacher of several half time schools and house to house schools in the Canberra-Queanbeyan region. His brother Albert, who never married was also a teacher. His grandmother Kezia, back in Somerset, was a teacher.

In the area where Henry was to become the teacher, there were three House to House schools, Gibraltar, Naas and Barnes Creek. From March 1891 to May 1891 while he was only 18, Henry was in charge of these three schools. He remained teacher in charge of the half-time school at Barnes Creek, situated between Gibraltar and Naas, until the end of 1892, when the other two were closed. Family history tells that Harry boarded with a 'melancholy mad' Irish lady who had two sons . She would sit in her rocking chair and moan, "worra, worra, worra" and was calmed by Harry singing Irish songs to her.

From Barnes Creek he moved to Burra where he was in charge of the Half-time schools at Burra and Urila (September 1892 - August 1899). During this time he met and courted the beautiful golden haired daughter of William Naylor, Katherine Mary Edith Naylor. They married at Queanbeyan in 1895 when Katherine was 18 and Harry 22. From July 1899 to August 1899 he was in charge of Keewong School which was not far from Urila and the Tinderry Mountains. From the Queanbeyan district he moved with his wife and small child, Roy, to Kingsdale just outside Goulburn where Daisy and Olive were born.

Harry Cook moved from Kingsdale to Bungonia as teacher in charge in mid 1906. Dates of his appointment vary from April to July. He remained at Bungonia for the rest of his teaching service. On his 64th birthday on 21 July 1936 he retired to Goulburn where he spent nine happy years playing tennis and building up a social network.

Obituary from the Goulburn Evening Post, 27th November 1945:

'Mr. Harry Cook, for 33 years teacher at Bungonia until his retirement, died at his home in Goulburn on Saturday last. Mr Cook was for 45 years a teacher in the Goulburn district, and upon his retirement at Bungonia came to Goulburn to live. He retired about 10 years ago. He was a good tennis and cricket player and footballer in his younger days and, played tennis until comparatively recently, although he was 73 years of age. He was a good entertainer and was always willing to play his part in assisting any worthy cause. He gave his aid to hundreds of patriotic and social efforts.

He was associated with the institution of Tully Park, and never lost his love for cricket. He umpired many games for the Cricket Association. In the old days, he was a member of the Liedertafel. The Masonic Lodge and the M.U.I.O.F called for his interest. He leaves a widow and three daughters and a son. The daughters are Hazel. (Mrs. Ayre, of Bungonia), Olive (Mrs Lee of Galston), Daisy (Mrs Jones of Enfield) and Mr. Roy Cook of Shepherd Street Goulburn. His son, Jack, died as a prisoner of war in Japanese hands. Mr. Albert Cook of Yass is a brother.

The service was held at St Nicholas Church of England North Goulburn and was conducted by the Rev. F.W.Rettie, who spoke of the splendid example he was to the younger folk. He was a councillor of the Church of England and delegate to Synod. Many of his ex pupils were present at the service. The remains were interred in the Church of England portion of the general cemetery.'


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