11 February 2009

Staffordshire Miner becomes Prime Minister of Australia

Many people have heard of James Cook the 18th century explorer, who was a Yorkshireman, but fewer may be familiar with the name of Joseph Cook, a coal miner from north Staffordshire who became the 6th Prime Minister of Australia.

My great grandfather, John Harris, never became a politician, but he was a coal miner in south Staffordshire in the early 1900s. It is very difficult to research the life of my great grandfather. His name is so ordinary, as was his working life, but at least I know that he was born in Shropshire in around 1871.

In comparison, Joseph Cook was born in 1860. He became Australian Prime Minister from 14 June 1913 until 17 September 1914. You can read about him here:

Article one - Australian Dictionary of Biography

Article two - National Museum of Australia

Article three - National Archives of Australia

Article four - Parliament of New South Wales

Article five - National Library of Australia

Article six - Wikipedia

Article seven - Australian War Memorial

Finding biographical material about my great grandfather is far more difficult! Perhaps you can help.

I probably need to spend some time searching this website:

Black Country History . org

Through that link I have found some interesting photographs and information:

Colliers at Riddings Lane, Wednesbury
Perhaps I am related to one of them

Pit bank wenches, Wednesbury
Some of my ancestors may have looked like them

Other notes

I have changed my picture again today. I am no longer a blue rose.

If you are looking for part three of The Mill in Ossolaro, it will appear soon in my Continual Journeys blog.

Update - December 2010:

I have added a few more links above. I hope you have you found them useful.

You may also like to read some more of my blog posts:

Objects or subjects - your ancestors

The art of knowing

Superstitions and traditions

A genealogical look around

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I especially appreciate historical insights.