Arthur Tasman Cocker and Kathleen Mary Crothers

Arthur Tasman Cocker was born on 20 Apr 1894 at Tower Hill, Fingal, Tasmania, and died in his sleep on 19 Jun 1978 in Launceston at age 84, and was buried on 20 Jun 1978 in Carr Villa Northern Wall, E2/17.  Arthur, or Tas as he was usually known, married Kathleen Mary Crothers, daughter of John Crothers and Julia Teresa Hally, on 24 Jul 1919 in St Pauls Anglican Church Derby.

Kathleen was born on 23 Jan 1895 in Ringarooma and died on 18 Aug 1973 in Launceston at age 78  Kathleen was descended from Irish convict James Hally and his Irish emmigrant wife, Margaret Casey and from Joseph and Ellen Crothers who left Ireland as assisted immigrants in 1856. Kathleen was born on 23 Jan 1895 in Ringarooma and died in the Launceston General Hospital on 18 Aug 1973 in Launceston at age 78.   There is a seperate section in this webiste for the Crothers families.

Arthur Tasman and Kathleen Mary Cocker    Arthur Tasman and Kathleen Mary Cocker

Tas and Kathie had five children:

50th wedding anniversary

Taken in 1969 on the occasion of Tas and Kathie's golden wedding anniversary. 
 From left to right: Zetta, Tas, Pat, Ettie, Kathie, Dexter and Lexie


Launceston Examiner 23 Oct 1919

MARRIAGES. COCKER-CROTHERS.-On Thursday, the 24th July, at St. Paul's Anglican Church, Derby, by the Rev. Gilbert Moore, Ar- thur Tasman (late 40th Batt.), youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Cocker, of Minston, Springfield, to Kathleen Mary, second youngest daughter of Mrs. and the late John Crothers, of Yambacoona, Winnaleah.

Launceston Examiner 24 Jul 1944

SILVER WEDDING Mr. and Mrs. A. T. Cocker wish to an nounce the 25th anniversary of their marriage, which took place at the Church of England, Derby, on July 24, 1919, by Rev. Moore. Present address: Cralgley, 395 George Town road, Launceston.

Arthur Tasman, or Tas as he was usually known, was Joseph and Emma's youngest son. He was born on 20 Apr 1894 in Tower Hill which is between Mathinna and Fingal in Tasmania. He lived and worked on his father Joseph's farm. He taught himself to shoot at ten years old and became a very good shot. He had just 6 months schooling which was all the families could afford. He learnt to read and write during that six months. Although he only had six months schooling he wrote and read and had an impressive grasp of Maths. He took a strong interest in society and had a curiosity for politics. His one expressed regret was that he never had the opportunity to get involved in politics at some level.

He left the farm to enlist as a private in the Army and went to the First World War in the 40th Battalion Infantry AIF. He left Australia on 30th October 1917, aged 23, and was sent to France. On the 17th August 1918 he was gassed and sent to 5th Southern General Hospital in Portsmouth, England where he was classed as "wounded mild". See here a letter from the King expressing his sympathies. He was returned to Australia in February 1919 and discharged 26th March 1919. Although he suffered no known permanent physical injuries, the gassing sent his hair prematurely white. His full army records can be downloaded here. Here are some pages from his Army pay book.

He had become enamoured with Kathleen Mary Crothers from Derby before he enlisted in the army and when he was caught absent without leave from the Brighton army training barracks she was found to be the cause. He had received word that another young man had been calling upon her and he went to sort it out.

He wasted no time after being discharged in resuming his life back on Joseph's farm but, like most veterans, he talked very little about his war time experiences. He married his beloved Kathleen four months after his discharge at St Pauls Anglican Church Derby on 24 Jul 1919.

Brother Bert (Albert Edward) had gone to New Zealand where he married and settled. This bank letter is addressed to J Cocker & Sons at Springfield in 1923. Both he and two other brothers, George (Joseph George) and Ernie (Alfred Ernest) were then dairy farming and they decided to join forces so they borrowed money to purchase a single large dairy farm. They had planned to sell their individual farms but re-evaluated in the light of the strong prices their dairy produce was fetching. Things prospered for a while but the price of butterfat plummeted and they found themselves unable to meet the bank repayments. All three were bankrupted. They petitioned for for liquidation of their affairs with the Registrar in Bankruptcy in Launceston in August 1923. This experience had a marked impact upon him and his approach to money all his life.

After a year or two Tas borrowed fifty pounds from a friend and purchased a small property at Springfield near Scottsdale from which he built upon. Initially they lived in a barn which only had three walls. They would move their sleeping location according to the rain in order to keep dry.  In the late 1920's they moved from Springfield to a better farm at Winnaleah.

Tas had become very cautious with money and all assets were owned in his wife's name, not his. In the early 1930's he decided to buy a car, having saved up the money and he went to Launceston. He came home, not with a car but having purchased a house that presented an irresistible investment bargain. In 1936 he tried again and this time bought a Chevrolet from Jim Arnold, the Motors sales representative.

He got a couple of free lessons and went for his test with son Dexter, aged 5 or 6, in the back seat. The policeman thought he was driving around a bend a bit fast and told him to slow down. Tas was a bit flustered by this and stepped on the accelerator rather than the brake. The car ended up off the road in a huge blackberry bush and the policeman had to lift little Dexter out over the blackberries. He subsequently passed another test.

Whilst farming at Winnaleah Tas carted, by horse and dray, provisions to, and tin from, Tommy Dutton's tin mine at Banca, approximately four miles from the farm. As part of farming activities (it was a dairy farm) he made butter which was sent weekly to Oliver Gregory's shop at Invermay. This stamp was used to stamp the paper wrappers; TC standing for Tas Cocker. He also kept pigs (usual practice on a dairy farm) which he slaughtered and prepared. These were then wrapped in chaff bags and sent to Launceston by train.

Allan Johnson (Allie) had been courting Ettie for some time and they were in fact engaged. Country folk made their own fun and courting couples were the butt of much humour. Ettie actually was most upset when her young brother put a notice on the front gate. It read  ‘No admittance unless on business’   Ettie did not see anything funny in this. It was also said by the family that before they could be married Allie had to cut 20 acres of fern - a yearly activity which was both strenuous and time consuming.

Once a year the cows had to be tested by the local vet. This involved a nick in the tail and some blood being taken for testing. This usually went well except when it came to Majesty, the bull, who once chased Dexter out of his paddock. Majesty was finally coaxed into the cow bail where he was tied - back and front legs - the door was nailed shut and an extra rope was placed around Majesty. The vet picked up Majesty’s tail and as was the normal practice nicked his tail prior to taking some blood. There was a convulsive heave, a mighty bellow, the door burst open and Majesty disappeared down the road, last seen disappearing in the distance. What to do??
Some short time later Allie appeared on horseback driving Majesty before him back to the security of his paddock. Allie was immediately forgiven the 20 acres of fern cutting and he and Ettie were duly married.  It is not known whether Majesty received his  blood test that year or not !!

By 1942 Pat (Alva) had left for World War 2 and only Dexter (aged 11) and Lexie were left on the farm. On one occasion at Winnaleah while Pat was home on leave from the airforce they were seated at dinner and he asked his Mum to "chuck us the bread" Kathie was so appalled at his bad manners that, without pausing or comment, she picked up the bread and hurled it at him. (Good manners were resumed)

Tas could not find labour to employ due to the war and they sold the farm and moved to Launceston. They had a new home built at 395 Invermay Road on the corner of Joffre Street. Despite its name of Craiglie, to his family the home was always known 395. It was home to some of his children and many grandchildren, family and friends over the years.

Tas worked for some years at Kiln Dried Hardwoods (later Gunns). He then worked as the night watchman at Kelsall and Kemp. They provided him with a gun which he used at night to shoot rats. He was a valued and respected employee but Tas would stick up for his rights. When he became convinced he was being underpaid he quietly and respectfully persisted with his claims. The manager ultimately backed down and admitted an error. While congratulating him on his persistence the manager warned him not to push his luck that far again!

The night job enabled him to work nights and then spend a large part of the days managing his several small market gardens at '395' and in some other gardens in the neighbourhood. His specialty was lettuce — he grew thousands each year. He eventually owned three houses plus a racing stables, which he leased out. The stables became the source of the horse manure which he used on his gardens. He used to collect horse manure for his gardens each week from the stables at the top of Mowbray Hill in a hand drawn trailer which was pushed along Invermay Road (the best part of a kilometre!) One of Dexter's enduring childhood memories is how much he hated having to push that trailer.

Tas was a kind, gentle man who rarely drank and all but never used strong language.  Dexter's only memory of his father swearing was when he called the cart a "bloody bastard" when it hit the kerb and upended the contents on the footpath. The only time Dexter remembers his father being drunk was when he and Kathie went to a party up in Joffre Street. Dexter was sleeping on the floor in the lounge room because guests were staying. Later that evening he could hear his father singing loudly as he walked back down Joffre Street. Dexter was so alarmed by this unusual event that he jumped into bed and pretended to be asleep. Kathie didn't approve of alcohol and didn't like strong drink being kept in the house.

Tas used to keep a metal scrap bin outside which held garden and kitchen waste suitable for pigs. The pig man collected the scraps regularly and in return gave Tas two or three hams every year around October. These could be found curing in brine in Tas' garage for weeks. One night in early December he would by, arrangement, gather them up and take them to the bakery at the top of Mowbray Hill. Here he would cover them in dough and bake them overnight. These became a treasured annual Christmas present to his some of his children. 

One of his houses was occupied by Crockie (Mrs. Croxford) and was directly opposite 395. He had purchased the house from her and she retained residency rights for life. She was a dear, elderly lady who was fond of a glass of sherry. She relied on Meals on Wheels and Tas who cared for her and would do some shopping when she was bed�ridden. Tas refused to buy her more than one bottle of sherry a week and her cry of "... but Tas there's not much in a bottle" has passed into family folklore and is still in use today.

Tas was devoted to his beloved Kathleen and was devastated when she started to have health problems just after he retired. She suffered from "women's" / digestive problems. Looking back she probably suffered from Crohn's disease, a chronic, episodic, inflammatory bowel disorder. She eventually became bedridden and hospitalised and did not enjoy a high quality of life during this period. She developed an aggressive cancer while hospitalised and it was his overwhelming love for her for her that gave him the strength to refuse the Doctors permission to remove it. She passed away peacefully after a long illness in the Launceston General Hospital on 18 Aug 1973 at age 78.

Tas missed her dreadfully and had great trouble sleeping at nights. He took to having a little whisky in his evening cup of tea to help him sleep. Over a period of time the ratio of whiskey to tea changed until eventually he dispensed with the tea all together. But he still drank it out of his pink tea cup and saucer. By this time he was suffering from mild Parkinson's Disease and he had a marked hand tremor. Grandson Andrew Cocker remembers holding his breath every time he returned the shaking cup to its saucer - but he never spilt a drop.

He was always canny with money and he bought generous quantities of his favourite, McCallums whiskey when it was on special (and a bottle of sweet sherry for the ladies). He gave very clear instructions that, on his passing, the whiskey was to be removed from the house before his death was reported. At this time he was living on the age pension and still trying to save a little each fortnight to "leave to the kids".

After Kathie’s death he went each Sunday for dinner with Dexter’s family at Erina Street. When he was leaving the whole family used to hold their breath to make sure he got onto Elphin Road safely because he didn’t believe in waiting at the corner before proceeding.

When Dexter purchased an eightball table Tas wanted to know why he was wasting his money on such a thing, but it wasn’t long after being taught to play that he bought his own table for 395, which proved very successful as two of his sons-in-law, Keith and Ken, (who both lived at Mowbray) used to visit to play with him. This shows he was always was prepared to listen and accept something contrary to his original idea if he saw the sense of it, or understood a situation better.)

By this time he was ready to join his Kathie in the after life and he passed away peacefully in his sleep on 19 Jun 1978 in Launceston at age 84. A kind, gentle and caring man who worked hard all his life to provide for his loved family.

Their Descendants

4-Ethel Mary Cocker was born on 8 Jul 1920 in Scottsdale and died on 19 Mar 2000 at age 79. Another name for Ethel was Ettie. Ethel married Allan Frederick Johnson, son of Albert Ernest Johnson and Hilda Maud Rainbow, on 19 Dec 1940 in Church of England, Winnaleah, Tasmania. Allan was born on 19 Dec 1910 in Derby, Tasmania and died on 11 Oct 1985 at age 74. They had five children: Marlene Mary, Melvin, Lewis Albert, Pamela Ethyl and Rodney Tasman.

5-Marlene Mary Johnson was born on 5 Jan 1941. Marlene married Anthony Wayne Crichton. Anthony was born on 5 Jan 1941. They had three children: Tanya Mary, Lynne Maree and Katrina Lee.

6-Tanya Mary Crichton was born on 28 Mar 1961. Tanya married Philip Keal. Philip was born on 11 Jun 1955. They had two children: Adam Wayne and Sophie.

7-Adam Wayne Keal was born on 13 Aug 1986.

7-Sophie Keal was born on 27 Mar 1988.

6-Lynne Maree Crichton Gill was born on 4 Jul 1962. Lynne married David Joseph Crichton Gill. David was born on 13 Sep 1958. They had four children: Aleara Mary, Grace Katherine, Alexander David and David James.

7-Aleara Mary Crichton Gill was born on 9 Feb 1986.

7-Grace Katherine Crichton Gill was born on 25 Aug 1987.

7-Alexander David Crichton Gill was born on 8 Apr 1989.

7-David James Crichton Gill was born on 26 Feb 1991.

6-Katrina Lee Crichton Gill was born on 22 Jul 1964.

5-Melvin Johnson was born on 15 Sep 1942. Melvin married Helen Mary Geeves. Helen was born on 12 Apr 1947. They had three children: Angela Jayne, Stephen Dale and Jane Elizabeth.

6-Angela Jayne Johnson was born on 6 Sep 1971 and died on 7 Sep 1973 at age 2.

6-Stephen Dale Johnson was born on 1 Aug 1973. Stephen married Tonya Rebecca Jones. Tonya was born on 16 Nov 1974. They had one son: Carter Owen.

7-Carter Owen Johnson was born on 1 Mar 1998.

6-Jane Elizabeth Johnson was born on 4 Mar 1976.

5-Lewis Albert Johnson was born on 7 Jul 1945. Lewis married Joan Mary Hebbink.  They had two children: Ingrid Louise and Matthew James.

6-Ingrid Louise Johnson was born on 17 Sep 1973. Ingrid married Douglas Marshall.

6-Matthew James Johnson was born on 29 Jan 1975.

5-Pamela Ethyl Johnson was born on 2 Nov 1952. Pamela married David Winton Wilson. David was born on 26 Sep 1948. They had two children: Rohan David and Kristy Lois.

6-Rohan David Wilson was born on 6 Dec 1976.

6-Kristy Lois Wilson was born on 29 Apr 1978.

5-Rodney Tasman Johnson was born on 6 Apr 1958. Rodney married Debbie Christine Hodgetts. Debbie was born on 8 Oct 1961. They had two children: Christopher Rodney and Cameron Bradley.

6-Christopher Rodney Johnson was born on 9 Mar 1985.

6-Cameron Bradley Johnson was born on 12 Nov 1992.

4-Alva Tasman (Pat) Cocker was born on 8 Oct 1921 in Springfield and died on 10 Apr 2003 in Launceston at age 81. Another name for Alva was Pat. Alva married Dulcie Jean Mace on 5 Jul 1944 in Registry Office Launceston. Dulcie was born on 17 Jan 1925 in Launceston and died on 20 Apr 1995 in Launceston at age 70. They had three children: Patricia Lorraine, Lynnette Jean and Alva Terrence.

5-Patricia Lorraine Cocker was born in Launceston and was christened on 3 Aug 1945 in Sale, Victoria. Another name for Patricia is Patsy. Patricia married Albert Clarke on 21 Jan 1968 in Launceston. Albert was born in Zeehan, Tasmania. They had three children: Russell Albert, Leanne Patricia and Joanne Lorraine.

6-Russell Albert Clarke was born on 24 Sep 1965 in Launceston.

6-Leanne Patricia Clarke was born on 11 Jan 1967 in Launceston.

6-Joanne Lorraine Clarke was born on 8 Apr 1971 in Launceston. Patricia next married Kelvin John Tapp on 1 Mar 2003 in Launceston.

5-Lynnette Jean Cocker was born on 26 Feb 1947 in St Ives Private Hospital, Launceston.

5-Alva Terrence Cocker was born on 26 Aug 1949 in Queen Victoria Maternity Hospital, Launceston. Another name for Alva is Terry.

Alva next married Betty Taylor on 16 Apr 1960 in Launceston. Betty died in 2008 in Launceston. They had no children.

4-Elexa Kathleen Cocker was born on 29 Mar 1925 in Scottsdale and died on 2 Mar 2001 in Launceston at age 75. Elexa married Norman John Pitchford, son of Gerald Lindsay Pitchford and Lucy Letitia Fitzgerald, on 15 Apr 1950 in Launceston. Norman was born on 13 Feb 1921 in Scottsdale, died on 11 Aug 1958 in Hobart, Tasmania at age 37, and was buried on 13 Aug 1958 in Carr Villa Cemetery, Launceston, Tasmania. They had no children.Norman served in Wordl War 2.

Elexa next married Kenneth Durham on 12 May 1962 in Launceston. Kenneth was born in 1913 in Rodway, England.

4-Zetta Cocker was born on 30 May 1926 in Scottsdale and died on 6 Feb 1988 in Launceston at age 61. Zetta married Donald McEwen in Launceston. Donald was born on 30 May 1926. They had four children: Ronald, Christopher, Kathleen and Murry.

5-Ronald McEwen was born in Launceston and died in Legana, Tasmania.

5-Christopher McEwen was born in Launceston.

5-Kathleen McEwen was born in Launceston.

5-Murry McEwen was born in Launceston.

Zetta next married Keith Claude Viney, son of Henry George Claude Viney and Vera Clara May Davies, in Launceston. Keith was born on 8 Sep 1934.

4-Dexter John Cocker was born on 28 Jan 1931 in Scottsdale Memorial Hospital. Dexter married Mary Jennette Harvey, daughter of Percy Alexander Harvey and Lillie Isabel McHugh, on 6 Jan 1953 in Launceston. Mary was born on 20 Feb 1932 in Launceston. They had five children: Penelope Jane, Andrew John, Simon Alexander, Stephen Dexter and Philip Scott.

5-Penelope Jane Cocker was born on 24 Aug 1954 in Launceston.

5-Andrew John Cocker was born on 14 Jun 1956 in Queen Victoria Maternity Hospital, Launceston. Andrew married Rosalyn Margaret Harris, daughter of Reginald Walter Harris and Winifred Ila Douglas, on 28 Jan 1984 in Hobart, Tasmania. Rosalyn was born on 20 Dec 1958 in Launceston. They had two children: Annabel Mary and Melanie Jane.

6-Annabel Mary Cocker was born on 28 Dec 1989 in Hobart, Tasmania.

6-Melanie Jane Cocker was born on 31 Mar 1993 in Hobart, Tasmania.

5-Simon Alexander Cocker was born on 14 Mar 1958 in Launceston. Simon married Alison Simpson McPherson on 8 Mar 1982 in Launceston. Alison was born on 12 Jul 1952 in Stirling, Scotland. They had three children: Claire Elizabeth, Fiona Mary and James Alexander.

6-Claire Elizabeth Cocker was born on 1 Sep 1982 in Hobart, Tasmania.

6-Fiona Mary Cocker was born on 29 Sep 1984 in Hobart, Tasmania.

6-James Alexander Cocker was born on 22 Aug 1994 in Hobart, Tasmania.

5-Stephen Dexter Cocker was born on 1 Dec 1961 in Hobart, Tasmania. Stephen married Patsy Lorraine Dick on 29 Jan 1983 in Launceston. Patsy was born on 21 Jan 1963 in Launceston. They had three children: Mathew Craig, David John and Caitlin Michelle.

6-Mathew Craig Cocker was born on 6 Nov 1986 in Launceston.

6-David John Cocker was born on 14 Mar 1990 in Launceston.

6-Caitlin Michelle Cocker was born on 19 Jul 1993 in Launceston.

5-Philip Scott Cocker was born on 9 Jul 1964 in Hobart, Tasmania. Philip had a relationship with Glenda Marie Hosking. They had one daughter: Cleo Mary.

6-Cleo Mary Cocker was born on 27 Dec 2004.