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Kate Boadicea Cocks
Title : Kate Boadicea Cocks Kate Boadicea Cocks
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Date of creation : ca. 1936
Format : Photograph
Dimensions : 232 x 175 mm
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
Catalogue record
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Description :

Kate Boadicea Cocks, South Australia's first policewoman.

Kate Cocks was born in Moonta on 5 May 1875. She trained as a teacher and took up a position with the South Australian Education Department. Cocks taught at several schools and became sub-matron of the Industrial School at Edwardstown, Adelaide. In 1906 she took up a post in the Child Welfare Department of the State Children's Council and three years later became the state's first probation officer working to reduce the number of juvenile offenders who might be placed in institutions.

In 1915 Cocks was appointed the first woman police officer in South Australia, and possibly the British Empire, with the same rate of pay and same powers as the policemen. The responsibilities of Cocks and her assistant Annie Ross included protecting young women and children from violence or from being drawn into crime or prostitution, patrolling the nighttime streets and dance halls for those underage, and handling female offenders. Cocks also at times took homeless girls into her home.

Cocks retired from the police force in 1935 to nurse her ailing mother. She advocated for the Methodist Women's Home Mission Association to open a refuge for homeless girls and a house was purchased for this purpose. Also in 1935, Cocks was appointed the Superintendent of the Methodist Women's Welfare Department. In 1936 the Methodist Church established a shelter for unmarried women with newborn infants and other needy youngsters. Cocks superintended this home from 1937 and later it was re-named in her honour. Kate Cocks died on 20 August 1954 in Adelaide.

Period : 1927-1939
Further reading :

Abbott, ES. Everybody's friend : the inspiring career of Kate Cocks, M.B.E., Adelaide : Hassell Press, 1939

Kwan, Elizabeth. Living in South Australia : a social history, volume II, Netley, S. Aust. : South Australian Government Printer, 1987

O'Neill, Dorothy. Kate : Fanny Kate Boadicea Cocks, M.B.E. 1875-1954 : the story of a woman with purpose, Henley Beach, S. Aust. : Seaview Press, 2005

Shapley, Geo. W. (George William). Miss Kate Cocks, her life and work, [Adelaide? : South Australian Methodist Historical Society], 1964

Internet links :

Australian Dictionary of Biography Online: Search for Kate Cocks

Australian Women's Archives Project: See: Archives Register: Enter register, browse People, see 'C' for Cocks

South Australia Police Historical Society: See: Women Police



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