John Cooke, the owner of Harrington’s Metallurgist from 1945 to 1982, passed away on March 22 at the age of 88.
Born in Fremantle, John learned the science of precious metal refinery from local Chinese and Russians miners while prospecting on WA’s Southern Cross (Bullfinch) goldfields.
John used the money he earned working on the goldfields to learn to fly and buy a Tiger Moth; during the second World War he was commissioned as a Flight Lieutenant in the RAAF.
At the end of the War he resigned his commission and opened a jewellers store in Sydney’s Kings Cross and worked at night, part-time for Eastman Kodak in the Harrington’s metallurgical division.
John purchased Harrington’s in 1945 and then gradually built it to become the largest privately owned metallurgical firm in Australia with offices in all states as well as in Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand – in the late 1970s Harrington’s was marketing around two thirds of Australia’s gold production.
In the early 1980s John sold Harrington’s to Peko Wallsend and retired to the Gold Coast.
He is survived by his wife Mary and three children and their families.