Sir Daniel Cooper, 1st Baronet

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Sir Daniel Cooper

Sir Daniel Cooper.jpg
1st Speaker of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly
In office
22 May 1856 – 31 January 1860
PremierSir Stuart Donaldson
Sir Charles Cowper
Sir Henry Parker
William Forster
GovernorSir William Denison
Succeeded bySir Terence Aubrey Murray
ConstituencySydney Hamlets
Personal details
Born1 July 1821
Bolton-le-Moors, Lancashire, England
Died5 June 1902
Kensington, London, England
Political partyIndependent, Imperial Federationist
Spouse(s)Lady Cooper, Elizabeth Hill (m.1846)
RelationsDaniel Cooper (uncle)
Douglas Cooper (great-grandson)
ResidenceWoollahra House
Salisbury Court
Known forCooper baronets of Woollahra

Sir Daniel Cooper, 1st Baronet GCMG (1 July 1821 – 5 June 1902) was a nineteenth-century politician, merchant and philanthropist in the Colony of New South Wales. He served as the first speaker of the Legislative Assembly of the colony and was a noted philatelist.

Cooper was conferred the hereditary title of Cooper baronet of Woollahra in 1863, the second of four baronetcy conferred to British expatriates in the Australian colonies.

Early life[edit]

He was born at Bolton, Lancashire, England, the son of Thomas Cooper, merchant, and his wife Jane Ramsden. He was the nephew of the emancipated convict and extraordinarily successful businessman, Daniel Cooper, who took an interest in the education of his nephew. He was taken to Sydney by his parents when a child, but was sent back to Britain again in 1835 and spent four years at University College London.

Cooper began business at Le Havre, France, but his health failing, he returned to Sydney in 1843. There, he acquired an interest in a mercantile firm, afterwards known as D. Cooper and Company, and bought much property in Sydney and its suburbs. This afterwards appreciated in value and Cooper became a wealthy man. In 1853 he inherited the bulk of the enormous fortune of his uncle, Daniel, who had no children. He was an early member of the senate of the University of Sydney, to which he gave £500 for a stained glass window, and £1,000 to found a scholarship.[1]

Political career[edit]

In 1849 at the age of 28, Cooper was made a member of the legislative council, and in 1856 he was elected as a member for Legislative Assembly seat of Sydney Hamlets of the first Parliament of New South Wales. He represented Paddington from 1859 to 1860.[2] At its first meeting, Cooper was elected Speaker by a majority of one vote over Henry Watson Parker. His election was not popular, but Cooper held office with dignity and impartiality and set a standard for future speakers. He successfully established rules of procedure and parliamentary conventions, which influenced the Parliament in the following years.[2]

In politics, he was close to Charles Cowper and Henry Parkes and supported Parkes' The Empire, financially. In return it described his political principles as being 'of so liberal a cast that, were he less identified with the great interests of property, he would be set down as a dangerous democrat'.[3]

In January 1860 his health was again troubling him and he found it necessary to resign. He was asked to form a ministry in March, but declined and in 1861 returned to Britain. During the Crimean War he had exerted himself in raising a fund for the relief of widows and children of soldiers, and in the UK in 1863 he did much work to relieve the distress in Lancashire caused by the cotton famine. He continued his interest in New South Wales and occasionally acted as agent-general, did useful work in connexion with the exhibition held at Sydney in 1880, and in 1886 was a member of the Royal Commission for the Colonial and Indian Exhibition at London.[1]


He married, in 1846, Elizabeth Hill, daughter of William Hill of Sydney and Mary Johnson, both convicts, and they had two sons and five daughters.

Cooper died on 5 June 1902 in Kensington, London,[4] and was survived by his wife and by two sons and three of their daughters.[3] He was buried in Brompton Cemetery, London.[5] The eldest son, Daniel Cooper (1848-1909), succeeded as second Baronet, but had only daughters and was himself succeeded by his brother William Charles Cooper (1851-1925) as third Baronet. His great-grandson was the art collector and historian Douglas Cooper.

Funerary monument, Brompton Cemetery, London


Cooper was a founder and the first president (1869–78) of the Philatelic Society of London, the predecessor of today's Royal Philatelic Society London.[6] His Australian postage stamps, sold to Judge Frederick Philbrick in 1878 for £3,000 (the first four-figure price for a collection), became part of Ferrary's celebrated collection.[7] The Sir Daniel Cooper Lectures, sponsored by the Royal Philatelic Society, are in his honour.


Cooper was knighted in 1857, created a baronet of Woollahra in 1863, appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) in 1880 and upgraded to a Knight Grand Cross (GCMG) of the order in 1888.[2]

See also[edit]

Political families of Australia: Wentworth/Hill/Griffiths/Scott/Cooper family


  1. ^ a b "Daniel Cooper". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Project Gutenberg Australia. Retrieved 14 February 2007.
  2. ^ a b c "Sir Daniel Cooper, Bt (1821-1902)". Former Members of the Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  3. ^ a b Martin, A. W. "Cooper, Sir Daniel (1821–1902)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 15 February 2007.
  4. ^ "Obituary - Sir Daniel Cooper". The Times (36787). London. 6 June 1902. p. 10.
  5. ^ Residents of Brompton Cemetery
  6. ^ James Mackay, Stamp Collecting, p. 68.
  7. ^ *Profile at Who Was Who in British Philately. Archive here

External links[edit]

Parliament of New South Wales
New title Speaker of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly
Succeeded by
Terence Aubrey Murray
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
New title Baronet
(of Woollahra)
Succeeded by
Daniel Cooper