COOPER, Sir Pope Alexander (1848-1923)


COOPER, Sir Pope Alexander (1848-1923)
chief justice of Queensland
was the son of Francis Cooper, a squatter, and was born at Willeroo station, Lake George, New South Wales, on 12 May 1848. He was educated at the Sydney Grammar School and the university of Sydney, where he won the Cooper and Gilchrist scholarships and graduated B.A. Proceeding to London he completed the LL.B. course, became a student of the Middle Temple, and was called to the English bar in June 1872. He returned to Australia and began to practise as a barrister at Brisbane in June 1874. He became a crown prosecutor and in January 1879 entered the Queensland legislative assembly as member for Bowen. On 31 December 1880 he joined the first McIlwraith (q.v.) ministry as attorney-general and held this position until 6 January 1883, when he resigned on being appointed a supreme court judge for the northern district of Queensland. In 1895 he became senior puisne judge at Brisbane, and in 1903 chief justice. He resigned this position in 1922 and died on 30 August 1923. He married in 1873 Alice Frener, daughter of James Cooper died in 1900, and was survived by a son and two daughters. He was knight 1904 and created K.C.M.G. in 1908. He was chancellor of the university Queensland from 1915 to 1922.
Cooper had only a short career in parliament but made some reputation as a polished speaker. As a judge he was always seeking the essentials of a case and generally adopted a common attitude on legal questions. His summings up were usually brief and to the point. In criminal cases he could be severe though just. In his conduct of the court, though always courteous, he insisted that the dignity of the bench must be upheld, and he was quick to restrain anything in the nature of contempt of court He was an efficient lieutenant-governor.
The Brisbane Courier, 31 August 1923; C . A . Bernays, Queensland Politics During Sixty Years; Who's Who, 1923.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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