Rt. Hon. Sir Joseph Cooke  (1860-1947)

Joseph Cooke, came from a poor mining family, living his early life in a small, one room upstairs and one room downstairs, thatched property in Brook Street Silverdale.   When his father and a brother died in seperate accidents at the Silverdale Pit and at the tender age of 12, Joseph descended into the dark of Hades' Kingdom as the breadwinner for the family.   These experiences moulded him into a determined reformer.

O God of mercy, will it ever be

That safety for the miner we shall see?

Will he be wholly free from dread,

Whilst down the mine to earn his bread?

On August 8 1885 he married Mary Turner and emigrated to Australia shortly after.  In 1887 he was working at the Vale of Clwydd colliery, Lithgow New South Wales. Within six years he became a member of the Australian Parliament and leader of the Labour Party.In 1913 he became Prime Minister of Australia.  A truly remarkable rise from the poverty of a North Staffordshire pit family to being an honoured leader of  a new country facing one of the last frontiers.