Josiah Cocking Diaries online

Posted: 01/04/2011 in labour history, mayfield, poets, wallsend
Tags: , , , ,

Introduction to the Josiah Cocking Papers
by Tony Laffan

Josiah Cocking (1867-1960) could probably lay claim to have been the most published Newcastle poet to date. As well as being a coal miner and socialist autodidact, for over 30 years Cocking contributed poetry and letters to a wide variety of socialist and union newspapers. Cocking wrote under names such as Daisy, Dandelion (Dan Deleon), K. N. Pepper, Violet, Taraxacum, Capsicum, Billy Khan and Edward Kelly as well as several varieties of Soshalistic Kove when writing in the C.J. Dennis style. His material was published in such papers as The People, International Socialist, Newcastle Argus, Newcastle Morning Herald, The Toiler, The Industrialist, OBU Herald, Revolutionary Socialist, Common Cause, Tribune and War Cry. Cocking was a member of the Australian Socialist league from 1893 and was an advocate of industrial unionism and the Industrial Workers of the World from 1907. He was a consistent anti-militarist and did regular knee drill at the local Salvation Army hall.

He also kept a diary and copies of his writings. His papers have been put into a coherent order by a grandson and deposited with the University of Newcastle Archives. These papers include an unpublished anti-war novel. Unfortunately Cocking did not always maintain his diaries but when he did we get valuable insights into the history of the labour movement as well insights on the intellectual development of this fascinating autodidact. The period 1893 to 1896 is written up and is important as it describes what the Australian Socialist league did at Wallsend. The period from 1899 to 1904 is also covered but from then until 1920 the papers are mainly copies of published letters, poems and articles from the International Socialist During 1920 Cocking resumed his diary, which then continues for most of the next four decades. These papers are a valuable resource and the diary portion is available as a CD-ROM from the Archives. The call numbers are A7748 to A7754, inclusive. They will repay research.

Tony Laffan
(Published in The Hummer. Publication of the Sydney Branch Australian Society for the Study of Labour History. Vol. 3 No. 7 Summer 2001-2002. )

Biographical Note
Josiah Cocking was born on the 11th May 1867 at Kadina in South Australia and died on the 27th July 1960 aged 93 at Mayfield, New South Wales. Mr Cocking was a miner and part of the early socialist and free-thought movement of Newcastle. He lived for a time in Wallsend and Mayfield, and wrote much verse for the local papers of the time under such pseudonyms as “Dandelion” and “Capsicum”. For a greater insight on the life and character of Josiah Cocking please view his biography in typescript (1.73Mb PDF file) or (496kB OCR PDF file) written by his son, Mr Arthur James Cocking (1916 – 1989).

The diaries and notebook papers of Mr Josiah Cocking were deposited in the Archives, Rare Books and Special Collections Unit (now Cultural Collections) of the University of Newcastle in November 1999 by Mr Keith Cocking. The shelf listing was completed on the 3rd March 2000 by Gionni di Gravio.

A7748

The notebook diaries of Josiah Cocking:

A. 14 November 1884 – 18 May 1893,  f.1 – 174.

B. 18 May 1893 – 7 April 1894, f.175 – 274.

C. 8 April 1894 – 11 April 1899, f.275 – 444.

D. 17 March 1899 – 15 January 1910, f.445 – 646.

E. 4 December 1909 – 17 May 1920, f.647 – 878.

F. 21 May 1920 – 20 December 1921, f.879 – 1088.

G. 4 October 1921 – 16 March 1923, f.1089 – 1268.

H. 19 March 1923 – 19 February 1926, f.1269 – 1524.

I. 4 September 1926 – 22 June 1928, f.1525 – 1654.

J. 15 June 1928 – 13 November 1929, f.1655 – 1758.

K. 13 November 1929 – 25 April 1931, f.1759 – 1856.

L. 5 June 1931 – 17 August 1932, f.1857 – 2012.

M. 18 August 1932 – 10 August 1933, f.2013 – 2112.

N. 21 August 1933 – 26 April 1934, f.2113 – 2248.


A7749

The notebook diaries of Josiah Cocking:

O. 27 April 1934 – 29 January 1935, f.2249 – 2368.

P. 31 January 1935 – 15 October 1935, f.2369 – 2502.

Q. 16 October 1935 – 31 July 1937, f.2503 – 2750.

R. 28 July 1937 – 28 June 1938, f.2751 – 2892.

S. 1 July 1938 – 13 December 1938, f.2893 – 2976.

T. 15 December 1938 – 14 September 1939, f.2977 – 3064.

V. 12 June 1940 – 15 January 1943, f.3185 – 3328.

W. 15 January 1943 – 1 January 1944, f.3329 – 3438.

X. 6 January 1944 – 12 January 1945, f.3439 – 3599.

Y. 7 February 1945 – 3 March 1946, f.3591 – 3742 and 10 March 1946 – 7 August 1947, f.3743 – 3864.

Z. 13 August 1947 – 5 August 1949, f.3865 – 4018 and 13 August 1949 – 26 July 1952, f.4019 – 4144.

ZZA2. 9 August 1952 – 28 July 1954, f.4145 – 4254 and 30 August 1954 – 13 January 1956, f.4255 – 4360.


A7750

ZZB2. 20 January 1956 – 7 June 1957, f.4361 – 4434 and 12 June 1957 – 21 November 1958, f.4435 – 4510.

ZZC2. 22 November 1958 – 11 March 1960, f.4511 – 4620.

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