The following legal history tutorials and lectures are planned for 2021:
• Dr Henry Kha of Macquarie University “Quo Vadis? The Road to English Divorce Law
Reform” (28 June)
• 2021 Plunkett Lecture to be given by the Hon Justice Jacqueline Gleeson, High Court,
chaired by the Attorney General, the Hon Mark Speakman SC MP (19 August)
• Dr Nicole Graham, Associate Professor, Sydney Law School (28 August)
• the Chief Justice of NSW, “The History of Sentencing Law” (22 September)
If you would be interested to attend, either as a presenter or in the audience, please advise the
Secretary of the Society, Dr Simon Chapple (firstname.lastname@example.org)
CONGRATULATIONS – Queens Birthday Honours
Congratulations to the following members of the Legal and associated Professions who received Queen’s Birthday Honours in the Order of Australia:
Officer (AO) in the General Division of the Order of Australia
- The Honourable Patricia Anne BERGIN SC for distinguished service to the law, and to the judiciary, to legal administration, and as a mentor and advisor.
- Professor Anne Frances TWOMEY
For distinguished service to the law, to legal education,
and to public education on constitutional matters.
Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia
- Ms Katherine Louise EASTMAN for significant service to the law, to human rights, and to professional organisations.
Medal (OAM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia
- Mr Peter Clement SEMMLER QC for service to the law.
- Ms Mary Catherine WALKER for service to the law.
Medal in the Military Division (OAM)
- Colonel James Graham WADDELL For meritorious performance of duty as Director of
Operations and Security Law and as Director of Army Legal Services for the Australian Defence Force. Colonel Waddell has been a great supporter of the Society.
FORBES LECTURE 9 June
The Annual Forbes Lecture, titled, ‘She was looking for her child’ Evatt J’s dissent in Chester v the Council of Waverley Municipality, was presented by Gideon Haigh, the author of a recently released book on Chester v Waverley Corporation, on Wednesday 9 June 2021, starting at 5.15pm. A link to the book on the publisher’s website: https://www.simonandschuster.com.au/books/The-Brilliant-Boy/Gideon-Haigh/9781760856113
Please click here for: 2021 Annual Forbes Lecture Programme and News Update _09 06 2021
10 June event: David Corbett’s Occasional Paper “So Help Me God: the History of Oaths of Office” was launched by Justice Leeming and speaker Jonathan O’Dea in the Speaker’s Garden at Parliament House in Sydney.
David Corbett advises that this Occasional Paper is the second in a series, the first being “Amen: the History of Prayers in Parliament” launched by Scott Morrison in 2019.
Our new Membership Application and Renewal Form is now available at: FFS Membership application and renewal 2021-22
Legal History tutorial and Essay presentation:
Our first tutorial was held on Tuesday 18 May at 5.15 pm in Court 13 A, Queens Square, 184 Philip Street, Sydney NSW 2000. It was delivered by the Secretary of the Society, Dr Simon Chapple and was titled ‘Themes in Australian Legal History and the development of succession law’.
At this event the winners of the 2020 Essay Competition were formally presented with their certificates and prizes, together with book prizes kindly provided by Federation Press. It was a great event and very positively received by all those present.
Photo is of Tertiary Award Winner , John Lidbetter from the University of New South Wales with the Hon JLB Allsop AO, Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia and President of the Francis Forbes Society.
Details of the 2020 Essay Competition winners are :
- Junior Secondary category: Ruby Byrne from Katoomba High School for an essay titled, “How has the provocation defence in Australia changed?”.
Arthur Zhang for an essay titled “Was the 1973 Death Penalty Abolition Act the right decision?” received a commendation.
- Senior Secondary category: Kyle Zhang from Normanhurst Boys High School, for an essay titled, “Plans can fly but so can laws”.
Commendations went to James Hong from the King’s School for an essay titled, “Circle sentencing: Legal success story or fallacious fairy-tale?”, Mentha Sumanasekara from Balwyn High School for an essay titled, “Is it justified to restrict people’s rights in times of national difficulty such as war or a pandemic?”, Elizabeth Kefaloukos from The Geelong College for an essay titled, “What is the significance of the Mabo case with regards to indigenous land rights?”, and Johan Choi from Normanhurst Boys High School for an essay titled “The legal history of martial law in Australia”.
- Tertiary category: John Lidbetter from the University of New South Wales, for an essay titled, “Third time’s a charm: The historical development of Australian contract law”.
Matthew Joyce from the University of Sydney received a commendation for his essay titled, “A crisis of conscience resolved – Using history to justify the revitalisation of the jury in modern Australia”.
A new paper by eminent legal historian Dr John Bennett on Sir James Martin has been published by the Society.
Dr Bennett described Sir James Martin as enjoying “the unique distinction, thus far in the history of New South Wales, of holding in succession the offices of Premier (thrice) and then of Chief Justice.”
Martin has been honored recently with twin statuettes in Martin Place and Parramatta. Dr Bennett, as Martin’s chief biographer, argues that these statues would be better located in the ground floor of the Law Courts Building and the grounds of Old Government House. as more protected from vandalism and more in keeping with the history of this significant individual.
This important paper is available here: Reflections on Sir James Martin 04.04.21
CALL FOR PAPERS
The 25th British Legal History Conference 2022 – In association with the Irish Legal History Society – To be held at:
LAW AND CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE Further details :
Plunkett Lecture Date and Lecturer Announced.
The 2021 Plunkett Lecture be delivered by Justice Jacqueline Gleeson (of the High Court of Australia): Thursday 19 August 2021. the Attorney General will chair the lecture. Further details forthcoming.
Congratulations to Distinguished Legal Historian Emeritus Professor Wilfrid Prest on being made a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day Honours for 2021. The award is for “significant service to tertiary education, and to the law and legal history.”
**************NEW BOOK OUT NOW************
New book – Australian Jurists and Christianity – a collection of essays, many written by members of the Society which explore the connection between Australian Jurists and Christianity. People profiled include Eddie Mabo, Edith Cowan and Michael Kirby AC CMG
Abbeys Bookshop of 131 York St Sydney, has the book – Just $99.00!! Click on the following link to purchase a copy from Abbey’s
Australian Jurists and Christianity provides new perspectives on the relationship between law and religion in Australia. It claims that the relationship between law and religion was more significant in Australia than has been suggested. Specifically, it suggests that Christianity was a significant influence on Australian jurists, both as public figures and as makers of Australian law.
Forbes Flyer No. 42 is out now!!!
This is David Ash’s final Flyer as editor. Our thanks to David for his great work in editing these excellent Newsletters for the society. It can be found at: Forbes-Flyer-No-42-Summer-2020-2021
This edition contains a review of the year’s events, and a fascinating article on Alexandria Park, the home of Terra Nullius.
The Flyer also contains details David’s recent book: Three Sydney Judges
This book sketches the lives of three Justices of the High Court of Australia, the nation’s supreme court. Albert Bathurst Piddington, George Rich, and Adrian Knox are part of Sydney’s history. They also inform our present.
The book is available through Amazon: https://www.amazon.com.au/Three-Sydney-Judges-David-Ash/dp/B0884H5S4C#:~:text=This%20book%20sketches%20the%20lives,They%20also%20inform%20our%20present.
The Previous editions of the Forbes Flyer are available on the Forbes Flyer Page of this website.
Some Recent articles of interest:
The Society welcomes any contributions from members who may have a particular interest they wish to explore through an essay, or a resource they think may be useful in the wider community. We can easily publish them online!! Send them to the Web Manager, Tony Cunneen at: TCunneen@stpiusx.nsw.edu.au
As a result of long research Summer Bar News Published an article on the establishment War Crimes tribunal on Labuan in 1945 by former Justice Russell Le Gay Brereton.
The article is available at:
Bar News Winter published a series of articles on the New South Wales Legal Profession and the 1919 Pandemic. Following is an extended version of one of those articles: Tony CUNNEEN 1919 Pandemic and the Bar (7 June 2020)-1
Plunkett Lecture 24 November is available at:
The Ninth Annual Plunkett Lecture was delivered by Dr John McLaughlin AM on Tuesday 24 November 2020 at 5:15pm. The JH Plunkett Lecture honours the memory of one of this State’s pivotal Attorneys General. John Hubert Plunkett (1802-1869) arrived in NSW, from Ireland, in 1832. For more than 30 years thereafter he made a major contribution to colonial law and society, serving, inter alia, as Solicitor General and Attorney General. He was the first Australian lawyer to be granted a commission as Queen’s Counsel. He led Roger Therry, another Irish-born barrister, in the conduct of the Myall Creek Murder trials.
The 2020 Plunkett Lecture focused on John Plunkett himself and was chaired by the NSW Attorney General, The Hon Mark Speakman SC MP, himself a former Plunkett Lecturer.
The Annual General Meeting
was held Wednesday 25 November 2020 at 5.15 pm, via Zoom
Please click on the following for details: Notice of AGM 2020 as well as the Annual Report for 2020 ANNUAL REPORT 2020 – 20.11.2020 and the Annual Report for 2019 ANNUAL REPORT 2019
Entries in the 2020 Annual Essay are being judged now!
The society welcomes essays on the full range of Australian Legal History. Further details are at: 2020 Essay Conditions and Guidelines
WE THANK ALL OUR SUPPORTERS FOR THEIR INTEREST IN OUR RECENT PRESENTATION:
“Making the Past Visible: The Colonial Frontier Massacre Map Project and the Legacies of Frontier massacres”.
On Thursday 5 November 2020 at 5:15-6:30pm (Eastern Daylight Saving Time) there was a webinar held organised by the New South Wales Judicial Commission, Ngara Yura Committee entitled:
Making the Past Visible: The Colonial Frontier Map Project and the Legacies of Frontier Massacres.
Speaker Professor Lyndall Ryan of the University of Newcastle.
Chaired by Chief Justice Allsop of the Federal Court of Australia and Justice McCallum from the Supreme Court of New South Wales.
In the lecture Professor Ryan addressed the history of massacres of Aboriginal people that occurred from 1794 to 1928 (some 300, with an estimated loss of nearly 10,000 lives) across the Australian frontier. The lecture examined the data concerning these events and addressed important historical and contemporary questions about this part of Australian history and legal history: the lack of awareness of these events; why few perpetrators appeared before courts; how do we come to terms with this past and what the past and our response mean for the future?
An article related to the lecture appeared in the Journal of the NSW History Teachers’ Association Teaching History, 54.3. Term 3 2020 and is made available here with the permission of Professor Ryan. Prof Ryan. Digital Map of Colonial Frontier Massacres
Obituary to Philip Selth OAM
The following Obituary to Philip was first published in the New South Wales Bar Association, InBrief on 7 July 2020. It is reproduced with the permission of the author, Bret Walker SC. It can be found at: PHILIP ALAN SELTH OAM
Philip Selth OAM was the founding Honorary Executive Director of the Society, then variously a member of the Advisory Board and Councillor. Philip’s support for the Society and its legal history work was vital.
Photo courtesy Australian Dictionary of Biography – one of the many history projects which Philip supported so passionately. He wrote six entries in the ADB. Click on the following link for a piece written by Philip on his experience with the ADB: Philip Selth in the ADB
Further Details from the NSW Bar Association are available at: VALE PHILIP ALAN SELTH OAM
2020 Forbes Lecture
2020 Forbes Lecture: Justice Leeming of the NSW Court of Appeal delivered the Forbes Lecture on Tuesday 19 May 2020 at 5.30 pm.
The title was: : “Lawyers’ uses of history, from Entick v Carrington to Smethurst v Commissioner of Police”. Justice Leeming’s excellent presentation the first time the Society used social media to broadcast a lecture live.
Download the Lecture here: Forbes Lecture 2020_ Justice Leeming
Further details of forthcoming lectures are available at:
Time to Renew Subscriptions Please,
Subscription Renewal Form: FFS Membership application – renewal 20-21
Have you considered donating to the Society?
The Society welcomes donations to support research activities, such as that outlined in the Current Research Page of this Website. Anyone wishing to donate should download the following form: Forbes Fund Donation Form
2020 was a very restricted year for the Society. Many thanks to all our presenters and the many members and guests who presented and logged on to our lectures and presentations.