Hall of Fame

Bertie Cook

1877 - 1968

Cook was the father of the Australian Journalists Association. He began work, aged 12, as a copy boy on the Melbourne Herald. After 10 years he was a reporter earning 3 pounds for a 70-hour week. Concerned by journalists' working conditions, he joined with colleagues in several abortive attempts to form an effective industrial association. In December 1910, he convened a meeting at which the AJA was formed. It was registered as Australia's first professional industrial association six months later. Cook, as its general secretary, helped argue the AJA's case that led to its first industrial award in 1917, which was effectively the first to grant equal pay to women.

Watch the video tribute (0:48)

MEAA Secretary Louise Connor accepting award on Cook’s behalf (2:12)