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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

A Commissioner of Customs "Faithful to Francis" [The Hon. Edward Cohen M.L.A.]

1874
Tom Durkin and The Weekly Times (publisher)

from the series ‘Masks and Faces’
lithograph on paper (sheet: 33.6 cm x 20.8 cm)

Edward Aaron Cohen (1822–1877), merchant, politician and community leader, came to Australia with his mother and nine siblings in 1833, his father, Henry, having been transported to New South Wales that year. After receiving a conditional pardon, Henry Cohen opened a grocer’s store in Sydney, H Cohen & Son, which Edward later managed. Moving to Victoria, Edward worked in auctioneering for some years before establishing his own importing business in 1864. He also branched into finance and landowning, becoming a director of the Colonial Bank of Australasia and other companies. Meanwhile, he had become active in municipal and state politics, serving as Mayor of Melbourne in 1862–63 and being elected to the Legislative Assembly in 1861 as the member for East Melbourne. Cohen was also a leading member of Melbourne’s Jewish community, campaigning for equal citizenship rights and raising funds to assist impoverished Jewish people. In March 1870, the Melbourne Hebrew Congregation (of which he had been president) presented him with a testimonial ‘in recognition of the valuable services rendered by him to the Jewish community.’ The treasurer of the Royal Melbourne Hospital for more than 20 years and a prominent advocate for the establishment of a public education system, Cohen’s death at age 54 was much lamented, a ‘vast assemblage’ turning out for his funeral in March 1877.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2016

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Tom Durkin (age 21 in 1874)

The Weekly Times

Hon. Edward Cohen (age 52 in 1874)

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On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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