1974 Cole Turnley

Cole of the Book Arcade

A Biography of E. W. Cole by Cole Turnley

Edward Cole Turnley was the son of Cole’s eldest daughter, Ada Belinda, and Angus Francis Turnley. In March 1929, Cole’s son Val Cole and A. F. Turnley bought the rights to all Cole publications for £2,400 as reported in the Age of March 26. Val Cole ‘… explained yesterday that the main reason they had in buying the business was to obtain the publications which went with the goodwill, and which they would continue to print and sell.’

This ensured that the famous Cole’s Funny Picture Book continued to be published well after Cole’s death, with A. F. Turnley’s son Edward Cole Turnley, continuing the tradition. Some copies of Turnley’s biography are still available from Turnley’s daughters. Details will be forwarded by making a request via the Contact Page.

In the Acknowledgements, Turnley says:

The compilation of this biography has taken many years, with the sad result that several of the people who were of great help to me have to be thanked posthumously. Chief amongst these is my mother, who was Cole’s eldest child, Linda. She worshipped the memory of her father and I was brought up to respect and venerate my grandfather, for whom I have always felt great empathy.
In later years I used to visit her with my tape-recorder, and we would have “recollection sessions”. Her recall was incredible, and she was even able to conjure up much of Cole’s life before her own birth, when she repeated stories of his youth which he loved to tell his children.
Again posthumous thanks must go to Cole’s two sons, my uncles Eddy and Vally, for the stories they, too, told me when I was a boy.
Of Cole’s children happily still living are my aunts, Miss Pearl Cole and Mrs Ivy Rudd [the webmaster’s grandmother] and I am indebted to them, also, for the reminiscences with which they provided me,  both written and taped.
There were several old employees of the Arcade with whom I have lost touch over the year, but who earned by gratitude for providing me with many illuminating reminiscences of their days there, notably Messrs Charlie Probert, Walter Orton, Alf Warburton, Charlie Davenport and Alec Scott; and of the Sydney Arcade, Guy Moore.

Turnley divides his biography into 28 chapters, plus appendix:

  1.    Twenty Sovereigns
  2.    The Cape Colony
  3.    The Diggings
  4.    Castlemaine
  5.    Down the Murray
  6.    Adelaide to Melbourne
  7.    The Real Place in History of Jesus and Paul
  8.    Cole’s Book Arcade
  9.    A Good Wife Wanted
  10.    Cole’s Funny Picture Book
  11.    Market Carnival
  12.    £1,000 for a Flying Machine
  13.    The Heart of Bourke Street
  14.    The Prettiest Sight in Australia
  15.    The Fun Doctor
  16.    The Man Behind the Whipping Machine
  17.    The Hen that Cackles and Lays Eggs
  18.    The Federation of the World
  19.    Wonderland
  20.    Quong Tart
  21.    Expansion
  22.    The Speech of Monkeys
  23.    The Little Man
  24.    A White Australia Impossible
  25.    Sugar Round the Pill
  26.    Man of Property
  27.    Days of Shock and Sorrow
  28.    King Cole’s Castle



Page 8 – Paragraph 1
Turnley states … their second son was born to Harriet and Amos Cole.
Please see research summary  Pre-1852 – Mendes for details showing Amos Cole was not Cole’s father.

Page 8 – Paragraph
Turnley states …for at his [Amos’s] death – which occurred only some three or four years after Edward’s birth …
Amos Cole survived and lived to be transported to Australia. See research summary Pre-1852 – Mendes for details.

Page 8 – Paragraph 5
Turnley states Little Eddy’s step-father’s name was John Watson.
Cole’s stepfather was Thomas Watson, not John Watson. John Watson was Cole’s half-brother and both Thomas and John Watson emigrated to Australia. See research summary Pre-1852 – Mendes for details.

Appendix page 181 – Paragraph 11
Turnley indicates that the Sydney arcade was bought in partnership between Cole’s daughter Ivy and an accountant Charles Dunlop. This was in fact bought by Cole’s daughter Pearl, not Ivy. See report in the NSW Government Gazette on 21 August, 1925 showing the dissolution of the partnership of Charles Dunlop and Pearl Cole.


Writer:Cole Turnley

Publisher:Cole Publications, 3 Creswick Street, Hawthorn, Victoria, 3122, ISBN 0 909900 07 8

Printer:Wilke and Company Limited, 37 Browns Road, Clayton, Victoria, 3168