Over 200 glass negatives from the Josiah Cocking Photographic Archive were recently digitised by volunteers and students in the GLAMx Digitisation Lab. The archive was transferred to Cultural Collections and stored in archives at the Auchmuty Library, University of Newcastle, together with other archival material from the Cocking family.
Josiah Cocking (1867-1960) was born 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 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 of the University of Newcastle in November 1999 by Mr Keith Cocking.
Born in South Australia of Cornish descent, poverty frequently surrounded the Cocking household. Three brothers settled in Wallsend in 1886, Josiah gained work in the mines outside the local area. By 1911 he built a house on Billygoat Hill and had five children. In 1914 the family moved near the steelworks.
The photographic collection contains images of Mayfield, Waratah, Wallsend, Plattsburg and Pit town, looking east from Billygoat Hill, steam engines and coal trucks. There are also photographs of steam and electric trams. There are also a number of photographs taken of friends and family members.
Part of this archive contains diaries and copies of his writings. Papers include his description of the Australian Socialist League in Wallsend (1893-1896), and his diary ceases and resumes in various years, however is a valuable source of historical information about Newcastle and the Hunter Region.
Please contact us if you know the subject of the image, and have cultural or other reservations about the image being displayed on this website and would like to discuss this with us, contact Cultural Collections at firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks to the family of the late Josiah Cocking for sharing this special archive with the wider community.