John Cockburn (Australian politician)

John Cockburn (Australian Politician)

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John Cockburn (Australian politician)

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Sir John Alexander Cockburn, KCMG (23 August 185026 November 1929) was Premier of South Australia from 27 June 1889 until 18 August 1890.

Cockburn was born in Corsbie, Berwickshire, Scotland in 1850. His father was Thomas Cockburn. He was educated at Highgate School, and King's College London, he obtained the degree of M.D. London, with first class honours and gold medal. In 1875 he married Sarah Holdway (the daughter of Forbes Scott Brown) He emigrated to South Australia in 1879 and set up practice at Jamestown in the mid North.

In 1878, he was elected as the first mayor of Jamestown. In that role he lobbied the South Australian government to construct a railway to the New South Wales border to tap the newly-developed silver mining fields of the Barrier Ranges. Between 1884 and 1888, during Cockburn's parliamentary career, the government line through Jamestown to Petersburg (now named Peterborough) was extended to the border to meet a private tramway built by the Silverton Tramway Company. This linked the growing mines of Broken Hill to the South Australian coast at Port Pirie, where a smelter was built in 1889, effectively capturing the economic benefits of the Broken Hill mining field for South Australia. The town surveyed at the colonial border in 1886 was named Cockburn in his honour.

He stood for Burra in the South Australian House of Assembly in 1884, serving as Minister of Education from 1885 - 1887 (under premier John Downer) before losing that seat and returning as...
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