Recent publications noted or reviewed

Recent Publications This new page has been added to the website to hold any reviews and/or details of publications related to Australian Legal History. Anyone with with material they would like to submit is invited to contact Tony Cunneen at .


David Ash (February 2019)  G D Woods A History of Criminal Law in New South Wales vol 2

David Ash (February 2019) List of non-practice published works by members of the NSW bar

David Ash  Murray Gleeson – The Smiler

David Ash  Queensland Legal Yearbook 2012 Review

Books Noted:

A number of recent publications may be of interest to members or friends of the Society:

Biography of Marie Byles – pioneering woman solicitor The Summit of Her Ambition

Marie Byles was a fascinating character who led a life that covered the law, travel conservation and the search for spiritual fulfilment.

Click on the Image above for more details.


Mark Tedeschi QC, Previously the Senior Crown Prosecutor, has built on his previous success with the book Eugenia and continued writing about some significant trials in Australian Legal History with the publication of Kidnapped, the story of the Graeme Thorne kidnapping and death  in July 1960. It’s a fascinating story and a landmark case. Further details are available at: ‘Kidnapped’ by Mark Tedeschi QC


Society member, Michael Pelly, has released a book on the life of former Chief Justice of the High Court, Murray Gleeson. Murray Gleeson – The Smiler, The book was launched in Sydney on 27 May 2014 and is available through Federation press. Further details on the book can be obtained by accessing the relevant section on the Federation Press Website. Go to

David Ash has written a Review of the book. Please click on the link to read what David has written: Murray Gleeson – The Smiler


Bruce Oswald and Jim Waddell (Eds): Justice in Arms: Military Lawyers in the Australian Army’s First Hundred Years. Big Sky Publishing Pty Ltd 2014, Commonwealth of Australia. This highly readable account of the development of the Australian Army Legal Corps covers the origins of the Corps from Federation, through both World Wars, into Vietnam and the modern era.


Recent Publications of Note:

 The Constitution and Government of Australia, 1788 to 1919 By William Pitt Cobbett Edited by Anne Twomey

 Between 1910 and 1919, William Pitt Cobbett, former Professor of Law and Dean of the Sydney Law School, wrote what would become his great opus on the Constitution and Government of Australia but the manuscript was never published. Its publication had been frustrated in the period following his death by the High Court’s judgment in the Engineers Case in 1920 and the new constitutional order it created.

A century later, Professor Anne Twomey, has edited Cobbett’s original manuscript, taking care to preserve the integrity of his work. The Federation Press, with the support of the Francis Forbes Society for Australian Legal History, will publish this important historical work which provides a detailed perspective of how the Constitution operated in the first two decades after Federation.

Click on the following for further details: eCard_The Constitution and Government of Australia


Free Hands and Minds

Pioneering Australian Legal Scholars

Susan Bartie

 legal scholars

Peter Brett (1918–1975), Alice Erh-Soon Tay (1934–2004) and Geoffrey Sawer (1910–1996) are key, yet largely overlooked, members of Australia’s first community of legal scholars. This book is a critical study of how their ideas and endeavours contributed to Australia’s discipline of law and the first Australian legal theories. It examines how three marginal figures – a Jewish man (Brett), a Chinese woman (Tay), and a war orphan (Sawer) – rose to prominence during a transformative period for Australian legal education and scholarship.

Ranging from local experiences and the concerns of a nascent Australian legal academy to the complex transnational phenomena of legal scholarship and theory, Free Hands and Minds makes a compelling case for contextualising law and legal culture within society. At a time of renewed crisis in legal education and research in the common law world, it also offers a vivid, nuanced and critical account of the enduring liberal foundations of Australia’s discipline of law.

 Susan Bartie is Lecturer in Law at the University of Tasmania, Australia.

    344pp   |   Hardback   |

Discount Price: £56

Order online at – use the code CV7 at the checkout to get 20% off your order!

Book Launch:

Launch of Sir Frederick Jordan: Fire under the frost, by the Hon Keith Mason AC QC – Tuesday 26 November 2019

The Federation Press cordially invited Forbes members to the launch of Sir Frederick Jordan: Fire under the frost, by the Hon Keith Mason AC QC. The book was launched by the Hon Justice Stephen Gageler AC in Banco Court.

Forbes members may recall the lecture delivered by the Hon Keith Mason on 10 October 2017, titled “Sir Frederick Jordan’s brushes with ‘degenerate art’”.

April 2020 saw the launch of a new book by Associate Professor Catherine Bond on  the legal experiences of a range of people living in Australia during the First World War. Further details are available on the following link: Law in War Bond


The result of a long term research project by Malcolm Oakes SC is now available. It is a List of non-practice published works by members of the New South Wales Bar. This is a fascinating account of the many contributions to Australian social and literary life made by barristers. It is well worth a look at the following link:  List of non-practice published works by members of the NSW bar

The list is alphabetical by author and includes man well known barristers, including CEW Bean, HV Evatt, Ian Barker QC and many others.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

7 − = five