Australian Women's Register

An initiative of The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) in conjunction with The University of Melbourne

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    Frederica Cooke, aged 20, 1917, courtesy of Dorothy Erickson.
    Details

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    Art and Industry Excellence Certificate awarded to Frederica Cooke, 1925, courtesy of Dorothy Erickson.
    Details

Exhibitions

  • Karlkurla Gold: A History of the Women of Kalgoorlie-Boulder

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Cooke, Frederica (1897 - 1955)

Born
29 January 1897
Sandhurst, Victoria
Died
1955
Occupation
Midwife
Alternative Names
  • Cooke, Freddie
  • Cooke, Rica
  • Glasson, Frederica
  • Wheeler, Frederica Georgina

Details

Frederica Georgina Wheeler was born on 29th January 1897 to Phoebe Clarke (nee Morgan) a boarding house keeper and Frederick George Wheeler, a commercial traveller, storekeeper and miner. She attended school in Echuca in Victoria and at the age of 18, on 12 October 1888, she married widower Robert Cooke aged 40 in Melbourne. She had two stepdaughters, Jean and Bella and three children of her own, Clive, Phoebe (Tottie) and Frances (Fanny).

Robert died of bronchitis and pneumonia in 1904 leaving her a young widow with no particular skills to support herself. She trained as a midwife, because as her granddaughter wrote,
'Faced with the need to support her family she decided against shopkeeping. Domestic service was beneath her dignity.'

In 1904, leaving her youngest daughter Frances in Victoria, she moved to Boulder in Western Australia to take up her profession. One of her first patients was her daughter Tottie. ' Nurse Cooke attended the birth of over a thousand babies and never lost a mother or a full term child'. She briefly conducted a small private hospital, but most patients preferred to be delivered at home, so she continued to give women that service.

In March 1917 she married again to a farmer James Glasson but found life on the farm too primitive, so returned to practise midwifery in Boulder and to care for her grandchildren.

She died in 1955.

Sources used to compile this entry: Criena Fitzgerald and National Foundation for Australian Women, Karlkurla Gold: A History of the Women of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Australian Women's Archives Project, December 2012, http://www.womenaustralia.info/exhib/wikb/wikb-home.html; Erickson, Rica, The Misfortunes of Phoebe, Hesperian Press, Carlisle, W.A., 1997.

Digital resources

Title
Frederica Cooke, aged 20
Type
Image
Date
1917
Source
Dorothy Erickson

Details

Title
Art and Industry Excellence Certificate awarded to Frederica Cooke
Type
Image
Date
1925
Source
Dorothy Erickson

Details

Dorothy Erickson

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

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ISSN 2207-3124