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Biographical entry Cooke, William Ernest (1863 - 1947)

25 July 1863
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
7 November 1947
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Astronomer and Meteorologist


William Cooke became the first government astronomer of Western Australia in 1896 and until 1908 was also government meteorologist. During his tenure the Observatory gained an international reputation for its astronomical work. He was the first to plot the route of a tropical cyclone across the State and issue warnings. In 1912 Cooke became both government astronomer of New South Wales and Professor of Astronomy, University of Sydney until the 1930s. Cook was responsible for the publication of star catalogues in both Western Australia and New South Wales. He also pioneered the use of wireless time signals over long paths



1878 -
Career position - Civil Service Cadetship attached to the Adelaide Observatory
1882 -
Career position - Senior Assistant, Adelaide Observatory
Education - BA, University of Adelaide
Education - MA, University of Adelaide
1896 - 1908
Career position - Government Meteorologist, Western Australia
1896 - 1912
Career position - Government Astronomer, Western Australia
1909 - 1912
Career position - Member of Council, Natural History and Science Society of Western Australia
1912 - 1926
Career position - Government Astronomer, New South Wales
1912 - 1936?
Career position - Professor of Astronomy, University of Sydney
1913 - 1947
Award - Honorary Member, Royal Society of Western Australia
Life event - Retired

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Archival resources

Perth Observatory

  • William Ernest Cooke - Records, 1896 - 1912; Perth Observatory. Details

Private hands (Cooke, M.G.)

  • William Ernest Cooke - Records, 1863 - 1947; Private hands (Cooke, M.G.). Details

Published resources


  • Utting, Muriel, Windows to the southern skies ([Perth, W.A.]: Murdoch University and Perth Observatory, 1991), 44 pp. Details

Book Sections

Journal Articles


Resource Sections

See also

McCarthy, G.J. and Helen Cohn