History of the Garrick Chair at the TC Beirne School of Law
James Francis Garrick (1836–1907) was born on 10 January 1836 at Sydney, the second son of James Francis Garrick who migrated in the early 1830s to manage a flour–mill. Like his elder brother, James was articled to a Sydney solicitor. He was admitted to practice in December 1860 and his brother practised in Christchurch, New Zealand. In 1861 Garrick moved to Brisbane , where only four attorneys were then in practice. He went into partnership with Charles Lilley,1 built up a flourishing practice and became solicitor to the City Council.
Garrick represented East Moreton in the Legislative Assembly in 1867–68. In 1869 the Lilley ministry appointed him to the Legislative Council but he soon left for London and after an absence of two sessions his seat was declared vacant. In London he resumed his legal studies to be called to the Bar of the Middle Temple in 1873. Next year he returned to Brisbane and was admitted to the Queensland Bar. He was Queensland crown prosecutor of the metropolitan district in 1874–75, the central district in 1875–76 and the southern district in 1877. In 1882 he was appointed QC. He re–entered politics in 1877 for East Moreton. In February 1878 he was appointed secretary for public lands and mines in the ministry of John Douglas2 and in December he became attorney–general which office he held for two months before the government fell. From 1879 he was prominent in the Opposition led by Samuel W. Griffith3 to the McIlwraith government until November 1883 when Griffith took over the administration and appointed Garrick temporarily as colonial treasurer. In 1883–84 he was postmaster–general, a post that customarily involved leadership of the government in the Legislative Council, to which he was duly appointed. He represented Queensland at the Intercolonial Conference of 1883.
In June 1884 Griffith appointed Garrick as agent–general for immigration in London while still holding a seat in the Executive Council as minister without portfolio. Apart from an interruption from June 1888 to December 1890, Garrick held his post in London until October 1895. In his first term he helped arrange to send to Queensland an average of 10,000 migrants each year, most from Britain but a few from Europe. Hopes of increased German migration were dashed in 1885 by German newspaper stories ‘warning against Queensland’, which Garrick tried to counter but with little success. In 1886 he unsuccessfully canvassed the possibility of other schemes of state–aided migration from Britain. He took part in settling the New Guinea question after Queensland’s abortive annexation in 1883. With other Australasian agents–general he was involved in numerous conferences and private interviews with the British secretary of state for the colonies. The latter rejected Garrick’s suggestions for more immediate and effective action in New Guinea and the South Pacific and his protest against the deportation of French criminals to New Caledonia. He arranged with the Admiralty for the Paluma to survey more accurately the Queensland coast and secured other ships for his government. He attended the Postal Union Conference at Lisbon in 1885 and the International Congress at Brussels on customs tariffs in 1888. As an executive commissioner, he prepared Queensland’s court for the Colonial and Indian Exhibition in 1886, and was one of Queensland’s representatives at the Colonial Conference in 1887. He was appointed CMG in 1885 and KCMG in 1886.
In his second term as agent–general, over the period 1890–95, Garrick completed the details of a scheme to send Italian migrants to the sugar areas of Bundaberg and the Herbert River as replacements for Kanaka labour. In 1891–92 he publicized a scheme of village settlement but deteriorating financial conditions in Queensland put an end to such plans. When the focus of attention in the agent–general’s office switched to commerce and trade, Garrick helped to find and promote new products for Queensland development. The marketing of frozen beef was his main concern. With the War Office he helped to complete arrangements for the defence of the Torres Strait, including armaments for Thursday Island. He was active in the Imperial Institute and a Queensland representative on its council. In 1890 he was invited but declined to stand for the British House of Commons as a Unionist. In 1895 he was appointed a judge of the Queensland Supreme Court but did not assume office. He was a director of several companies and he remained in London until he died at his home on 12 January 1907. He was survived by his wife Catherine, daughter of Dr JJ Cadell of Brisbane, whom he had married on 3 January 1865 and of which marriage there were three children.4
Described as a ‘brilliant lawyer, a well set up handsome man, cultivated and of great personal charm’, Garrick was also a fine speaker, very courtly and diplomatic.
Sir James Garrick’s daughter, Katherine Cecie Garrick, left provision in her Will dated 22 November 1916 to endow a professorship and also a tablet in the memory of her father in the following terms: ‘My Trustee shall hold one moiety of my Residuary Estate UPON TRUST to pay the income to my mother Dame Catherine Garrick if she shall survive me during her life and from and after the death of my said mother UPON TRUST to pay free of all duties to the Senate of the University of Queensland the sum of Fifty pounds to be expended in setting up a tablet in the buildings of the University to the memory of my late father Sir James Francis Garrick K.C.M.G. and the further sum of Ten thousand pounds free of all duties for the purpose of founding a Professorship either of law or medicine as may seem best to the University to be entitled the James Francis Garrick Professorship of Law or Medicine as the case may be ……’.
In 1923 the Senate decided on a Chair in Law, in the Faculty of Arts, to be called the ‘James Francis Garrick Professorship of Law’, and appointed to it Professor Francis W. S. Cumbrae–Stewart. A bronze tablet was constructed and it was unveiled on 15 March 1926 by the then Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Alderman W A Jolly, after which unveiling an inaugural professorial lecture was given by Cumbrae–Stewart.5 The tablet was fixed to a wall inside the entrance door to the university library, which was then on the present site of the Queensland University of Technology. After the law school moved to the Forgan Smith building at St Lucia in 1946 the tablet was affixed to the wall of the Forgan Smith upper western corridor, outside the staff common room (which was later named the Sir Samuel Griffith Room), where it still remains.6
As mentioned, the first Garrick appointment was made in 1926 to Professor Cumbrae–Stewart. He was Head of Law within the Faculty of Arts until he resigned in 1936, when the law school was established from the proceeds of the T.C. Beirne bequest. Professor Yorke–Hedges, the second holder of the Garrick Chair, became the dean and head of the new law school. He resigned in 1946 and Acting Honorary Professor A.D. McGill (a barrister) held the Garrick Chair from 1945 to 1948. In 1948 Professor W.N.L. Harrison became Garrick Professor of Law and also dean and head of the department of law. From 1 January 1962 Professor E. I. Sykes was appointed Professor of Public Law, head and dean of the department but the Garrick chair stayed with Harrison until his death on 16 July 1966.7 The Garrick chair was then transferred to Sykes, at his request, with the Vice–Chancellor’s approval given for it on 2 August 1966.
Professor Tarlo was appointed the acting head and dean of the department on 30 April and Sykes’ resignation, previously offered but delayed until 11 May 1967 for the new head to settle in, then took effect8 on which the Garrick Chair then lapsed. In November 1968 the UQ Senate decided on a fourth chair in law and advertised for a Garrick Chair of Law associated with the Headship of the Department of Law, to which the existing three chairs could apply. However, after a report was made by the president of the Professorial Board (E C Webb) the Senate resolved to appoint the fourth chair and after that appointment was made to allocate the Garrick Chair.
On 13 October 1969 Professor Kevin W Ryan9 was appointed Head of Department for five years and, after a recommendation by a committee to that effect, Ryan was appointed to the Garrick Chair for five years from 1 December 1969 and then it lapsed until he was reappointed to that chair from 1979 to 1985. It then lapsed again until Professor Gabriel Moens held the chair for five years from 14 October 1999. The appointment of the current incumbent, Professor James Allan, was made by the UQ Senate from 5 February 2004.
By Dr Michael White QC; with considerable helpful research assistance from Ms Megan Lyneham, UQ Archives, and Ms Marguerite Stringer, UQ Records Management Services. 8th December 2005.
Australian Dictionary of Biography Entry by Professor Ross Johnston (using sources from RS Browne, A journalist’s memories (Brisbane, 1927); C Lack, ‘Colonial representation in the nineteenth century’, JRHSQ, 8 (1965–66); Argus, 12 May 1890; The Times, 14 Jan 1907; Col Sec letters to and from agent–general (QA); Griffith papers (Dixon Lib, Sydney).); The Brisbane Courier 9 March 1926; material held in the UQ Archives, researched by Ms Megan Lyneham, especially the UQ Senate papers.; material held in UQ Records Management Services, researched by its manager, Ms Marguerite Stringer.
- Later Sir Charles Lilly, Chief Justice of Queensland.
- John Douglas was the founder of the Queensland ‘legal’ Douglas family.
- Sir Samuel Griffith, Premier, Chief Justice of Queensland and the first Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia.
- The three children were Katherine Cecie Garrick, James Cadell Garrick and Francis Cadell Garrick.
- Copies of the speech are held in the UQ archives, Fryer Library and Law Library, entitled ‘The Law and the City’. It was delivered in the hall next to the Central Technical College, adjoining the UQ library (which was then in George St, Brisbane, where the Queensland University of Technology now stands.) Cumbrae–Stewart had previously been the Registrar of the university.
- The tablet reads ‘In memory of Sir James Francis Garrick, K.C.M.G., K.C., Agent General of Queensland 1890 – 1895. Born: 12th Jan. 1836. Died: 10th Jan 1908 aged 72’.
- In July 1967 the Senate appointed Mr D J Whalan of the Australian National University, to the chair previously held by Harrison.
- Sykes took up a position at the Melbourne University Law School. On 14 December 1967 the Senate approved that Dr K C T Sutton, senior lecturer in law, University of Sydney, be appointed to the chair.
- Dr Ryan had been a Reader but resigned to join the Australian Department of Trade as an Australian Trade Commissioner and Councillor in Rome, Italy, being familiar, amongst other languages, with Italian.