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Cowper, Sedgwick Spelman (1839 - 1896)

12 March 1839, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

15 August 1863, Dublin, Ireland.

Louisa Elizabeth Georgiena St George

31 December 1896, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Religious Influence:

* Pastoralist
* Banker
* Politics
* Businessman


Descendant Family:
Fookes Family



Sedgwick Spelman Cowper
, who was known as ‘Sedgy’ to the family, was the second child of William by his third wife Harriette Cowper, née Swaine, born on 12 March 1839 at St Philip's Parsonage, Sydney, where his father was the Rector of St Philip’s Church, Sydney.

What’s in a Name?
In the case of Sedgwick and his younger sister Elizabeth Ann, they and their descendants have quite a rich history, not just with the Cowper family but with their mother’s family the Swaines – who in their own right have connections with the Royal Family. In Sedgwick’s case his Christian name Sedgwick was the maiden name of his fraternal grandmother Isabella. The name Spelman came into the family when in the mid 1600’s the Swaine and Spelman families intermarried when Thomas Swaine (Sedgwick’s 4th Great-Grandfather) married Elizabeth Spelman, who was the great granddaughter of Sir Henry Spelman the English antiquary, noted for his detailed collections of medieval records, in particular of church councils. He was the eldest son of Henry Spelman (d. - 1581), of Congham, Norfolk, and the grandson of Sir John Spelman (1495-1544) (Sedgwick’s 10th Great-Grandfather), who was the Chief-Justice of England to Henry VIII and condemned Sir Thomas More and Queen Anne Boleyn. The Spelman name was also used by Sedwicks maternal great-grandfather Spelman Swaine and also the name of his great uncle, Rear-Admiral Spelman Swaine.

Sedgwick Spelman Cowper, M.A. (Master of Arts, Sydney University 1870), was selected to fill the office of secretary to the New South Wales Commission of the International Exhibition of 1862, in England, and was made Secretary of The Australian Meat Agency (Tallerman’s) Company on the 25th October 1872. He was also manager of the Inter-colonial Agency Company in 1882.


Sedgwick Spelman Cowper

Sedgwick Spelman Cowper
University Days
Photo: Keith Cowper Collection




sedgwick spelman in university days

Sedgwick Spelman Cowper
University Days – Sydney University
Photo: Keith Cowper Collection

Politically Sedgwick was active, with mention of him working with his half-brother Sir Charles Cowper on events in Rockhampton, in particular the Rockhampton Separation Movement which reached its zenith in London 1872, Sedgwick presented a petition to Downing Street with Sir Charles Nicholson who was Chancellor at Sydney University and also had large land holdings in Rockhampton as did Sedgwick – Sedgwick we know was educated at Sydney University as such the association is more then coincidence perhaps. Sir Charles Cowper, Sedgwick’s brother was initially reported as presenting the petition – but this was inaccurate as it was Sedgwick.


sedgwick brisbane courier article part 2sedgwick brisbane courier article part 1














Source: Brisbane Courier - Friday 24 January 1873










Sedgwick took the Oath of Allegiance in Rockhampton, Queensland on the 8th October 1869 and was recorded as Commissioner of the Peace, along with his half-brother Sir Charles Cowper, and nephew Charles Cowper Jnr, in 1872.

Sedgwick stood as a candidate for East Sydney in October 1877, gaining just 6.16% of the total vote (Sedgwick returned from London on the 1st August 1877, which may account for his poor showing in the election result), and then again standing for Tamworth in 1880 – however the results for this seat have not been found.

Sedgwick Spelman Cowper
Photo courtesy of Keith Cowper Collection.

Whilst in England attending his duties as secretary to the New South Wales Commission of the International Exhibition, he travelled and lectured widely, and during his stay he married Louisa Elizabeth Georgiena St George, daughter of Thomas Belmore St George and Wilhelmina Wolseley of Galway, Ireland, on the 15 August 1863, at St Anne's Church, Dublin, Ireland.

After the marriage the new couple returned to Sydney and travelled to Rockhampton, Queensland aboard the steamer ‘Williams’ which departed Sydney on the 4th January 1864. The journey was not without incident as the steamer collided with a punt near Breakfast Creek on its way north – Sedgwick wrote a letter in support of the Steamer’s Captain which is recorded below.

sedgwick brisbane courier article 2






Source: Brisbane Courier - Tuesday 12 January 1864












The family settled in Rockhampton and called the property ‘Rookwood’ where their only child, Wilhelmina Georgiena Swaine St George Cowper, was born on the 08 August 1864. The name Wilhelmina came from her maternal grandmother, Georgiena was one of her mother’s middle names, Swaine was her fraternal grandmother’s maiden name and St George was her mother’s maiden name.


Wilhelmina Georgiena Swaine St George Cowper
Only Child of Sedgwick and Louisa
Note: This is not confirmed however.

Their only child Wilhelmina Georgiena Swaine St George Cowper (1864 – 1946) married Rev. Robert Fookes (1865 – 1939) in 1899 at London and they had 3 children.

  • Kathleen Cowper Fookes (1900 – 1988)
  • Henry Sedgwick Fookes (1902 – 1991)
  • Constance Wilhelmina Fookes (1904 – 1915)

Sadly when Henry Sedgwick Fookes, who was the great-grandson of William Cowper, died in 1991 he was the last living descendant of William Cowper via his son Sedgwick Spelman Cowper.

A final note for Sedgwick was his Bankruptcy on 29th October 1888; he was at the time a ‘Mining Speculator’.

Sedgwick Spelman Cowper died at the Sydney Hospital, Macquarie Street, Sydney on the 31 December 1896 and was buried 2nd January 1896 at St. Jude's, Church Cemetery, Randwick, along with his father William Cowper and half-brother William Macquaire Cowper

Louisa Elizabeth Georgiena Cowper retuned to England with their daughter Wilhelmina and died at 'Trethake', West End Lane, Pinner, London on the 19th December 1926.