Ralph Coote was born in Sydney in 1896, the first son of Alice and Frederick Coote. At the time Ralph’s father, Fred, worked for the Colonial Sugar Refining Company as a blacksmith and farrier. In the following years another son, Leonard, was born, and two girls, Ruth and Beulah. In 1905 the family relocated to Orange and Fred opened a blacksmithing business in Summer Street where the Orange Arcade is currently located.
Ralph was educated in Orange and was working in his father’s business when he enlisted, aged 19. He served in the First Light Horse Regiment in Egypt and Palestine and participated in the battles at Romani and Beersheba. Ralph served for a total of 1,484 days, 1,269 days of which were overseas.
Ralph was invalided home in early 1918 and took up work on the family orchard in Lone Pine Avenue alongside his father and brother, Len.
As a returned soldier, Ralph was bestowed with the honour of delivering the official address on Children’s Peace Day at the Pinnacle Road School in July 1919.
On 3 May 1923 Ralph married Ethel Maude Bowers. The couple had two daughters, Elaine, born in 1928, and Margaret, born in 1932. Ralph became prominent in the fruit industry as a director of the Cool Stores and the Orange Producers’ Rural Co-operative. He was also an active committeeman and steward of the Diggers’ Mechanical Coursing Club at Wade Park.
Ethel passed away in 1949, and in 1955 Ralph married Hilda May Hillary. Following Ralph’s retirement in 1973 the couple relocated to Drummoyne.
Ralph died in Drummoyne in August 1989, aged 93. Ralph is commemorated on the Holy Trinity Church Orange Honour Roll.