Local (Baulkham Hills) Man calls the first Double Dissolution of Parliament

A mention of Cook Street, Baulkham Hills in one of my Facebook groups (Hills District Memories) brought to mind the political career of Joseph Cook after whom the street was named who became Prime Minister between June 1913 and September 1914.

Joseph Cook resided on Windsor Rd, Northmead near the present day McDonalds, his home named “Corovo” stood where “The Willows” Retirement Village now stands.

Following his election to the President of the Lithgow Labor Electoral League, Cook sought election to the NSW Parliament and became the Labor member for Hartley in 1891. He became leader of the Parliamentary Labor Party in 1893.

During 1893-1894 a split occurred in the party with Cook and most other Labor members of Parliament breaking away from the Labor movement.

After Federation, Joseph Cook sought election to Federal Parliament contesting the new Federal seat of Parramatta which at that time took in a vast area consisting of most of the Hills, Parramatta, the Blue Mountains and stretching as far west as Lithgow.

Parramatta therefore contained Cook’s old seat of Hartley.

The electoral population of the seat was only 12,194 a far cry from today’s ever growing population for the same area.

Cook was successful in his attempt to enter Federal politics.

In 1906 he decided to move to a more exclusive part of his electorate and moved his family to Windsor Rd, Northmead. The decision to move to Windsor Road may have been prompted by a redistribution of electoral boundaries which also took place in the same year.

A new electorate of Nepean was carved out of the western portion of Parramatta, which included Hartley, Lithgow and the Blue Mountains.

Cook’s new seat of Parramatta now consisted of Sydney’s Upper North Shore, the Hills, Parramatta and the Central Coast including The Entrance and Gosford.

By 1909 Cook was leader of the “Free Traders” and joined his party in coalition with Alfred Deakin’s Liberals.

By January 1913, Cook was then Deputy Leader of the Liberals took over the leadership from Deakin and in the following election (June 1913) defeated Andrew Fisher’s Labor Party.

Thus, Joseph Cook became Prime Minister of Australia.

Joseph Cook created history twelve months later by announcing the first double dissolution of the Federal Parliament, claiming he was unable to govern with a hostile Senate and a bare majority of one in the House of Representatives. (It seems some things remain the same still more than 100 years later)

At the subsequent elections held in 1914 Cook’s Liberals were defeated by Fisher’s Labor Party.

Cook went on to form another coalition between his Liberals and Billy Hughes’ newly formed National Labor Party. This coalition became the National Party a forerunner to today’s Liberal Party.

Cook retired from politics in 1921 to take up the position of High Commissioner in London until his retirement from that position in 1927.

After his return from London he lived at Bellevue Hill until his death in 1947 Don’t forget to contribute your memories and also any old photographs that you would like to see published in this magazine’s “as we were” section.


You can write about childhood memories of where you may have grown up or moving into the area. Tell us about your school days. Where you worked, played or went on holidays; your first car; that first date, getting married or maybe the history of your family, group or organisation in the district. This page is about memories so tell us yours.

If you have some great memories, or perhaps you belong to a local community organisation and would like to share your organisation’s history or story with us then feel free to share your memories or experiences by writing to 17 Rose St, Baulkham Hills, NSW, 2153 or email to [email protected].

You can also share memories on any of my Facebook memories groups including Hills District Memories at or Hawkesbury Happenings & Memories at Hawkesmemories.