In 2013 the Society proposes to conduct, at least, its two major public lectures: the 12th annual Forbes Lecture and the second annual JH Plunkett Lecture. The Society has also been invited to present an Oration at a dinner in the historic Forbes Town Hall on 24 October 2013 as part of the 2013 Kalari-Lachlan River Arts Festival. The Society invites all members and friends to bring to attention potential lecturers and lecture topics.
The Australian Capital Punishment Database Project is continuing under the supervision of Tim Castle in collaboration with Dr Amanda Kladelfos. The Society hopes that the Project will result in an upgraded Database being posted on the website, with the assistance of the NSW Bar Association, in early 2013.
Entrants in the 2013 Australian Legal History Essay Competition are invited to address any question of their own choice on “Australian legal history” or to address one of four questions proposed by the Society.
The set questions respectively address: (1) the reception of English law in Australia by reference to Cable v Sinclair  NSWKR 7, Dugan v Mirror Newspapers Limited (1978) 142 CLR 583 and Cooper v Stuart (1889) 4 App Cas 286 at 291; (2) the question whether, from the respective perspectives of a free woman married to a capital felon in colonial Australia and an indigenous Australian, it is correct to say that Australian law has never countenanced slavery; (3) the question whether modern Australia’s aversion to capital punishment has any connection with the convict origins of Australian society, in which capital punishment was a known quantity; and (4) the historical significance of the High Court of Australia in the Australian legal system by reference to one or more of its seminal judgments.
Read the Conditions of Entry and Guidelines.
From time to time the Society convenes for its members and friends a “Legal History Discussion Group” meeting in the premises of the NSW Bar Association. These meetings (held in the evening, commencing at 5.30pm and concluding no later than 7.00pm) provide a forum in which people interested in legal history can learn of recent developments, present papers and exchange ideas.
The Group has met twice during the past year, and it plans to hold its third meeting for the year at the conclusion of this year’s Annual General Meeting of the Forbes Society on Tuesday 20 November 2012.
On 29 August 2012 Philip Selth OAM, the Honorary Executive Director of the Forbes Society and Executive Director of the NSW Bar Association, spoke about the career of Eric Miller QC (1903-1986) and Miller’s appearance in defence of his cousin, PNG Captain John Joseph (“Mangrove”) Murphy (1914-1997) at the latter’s trial by court-martial for allegedly having given information to the Japanese while he was a prisoner of war. Murphy, a former PNG Patrol Officer and Coastwatcher on New Britain, was honourably acquitted of all charges, but not everyone accepts the court-martial verdict.
Ladies with no clothes and a few Atomic Secrets – the strange world of Communist interrogation in the Korean War
On a frigid 5 February 1952, 77 Squadron’s Flight Lieutenant John “Butch” Hannan’, a veteran of the Pacific Theater of the Second World War, was flying his 84th combat mission over North Korea. He was on the return to Kimpo base, and just 15 minutes from safety, when his Meteor was hit by ground fire. He ejected from the stricken jet and parachuted onto the snow. His three companions soon lost sight of him in the dazzling expanse of white. Read it here.
The Select Cases 1828-1863 Project, undertaken by the Forbes Society in conjunction with Macquarie University, through ongoing work of Brent Salter and Emeritus Professor Bruce Kercher in consultation with Dr Lisa Ford, has advanced to a stage where, subject to funding, the Society can proceed to publication. The Society hopes to be able to move, in 2013, towards publication of two volumes following upon Kercher and Salter (eds), The Kercher Reports: Decisions of the New South Wales Superior Courts, 1788 to 1827 (Forbes Society, 2009/2010).
A symposium on historical connections between the legal profession and the Australian Defence Forces
The Forbes Society, the New South Wales Bar Association and the Faculty of Law at the University of Technology, Sydney jointly sponsored a Symposium (to be held at the UTS Law Faculty on Saturday, 24 March 2012) on historical connections between the legal profession and the Australian Defence Force. The symposium will be opened by the Hon. T F Bathurst, Chief Justice of New South Wales. For further details, see the website of the UTS Faculty of Law (www.law.uts.edu.au) or contact Tony Cuneen (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
On 30 August 2011 JP Bryson QC delivered a public lecture (on the History of Pleading in New South Wales) in the Common Room of the NSW Bar Association. The Lecture was co-sponsored by the Forbes Society, the Seldon Society and the Bar Association. Justice PW Young chaired the Lecture and provided a brief commentary on the paper presented. The paper was published as “Common Law Pleadings in New South Wales and How They Got There” (2012) 86 Australian Law Journal 452.