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Senior Judges appointed to family court of Australia

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He had also presided over numerous judicial

inquiries into maritime and aviation disasters. These

included the Voyager inquiry and the inquiry into the

collapse of the Tasman Bridge. Sir John had also served

as President of the Copyright , Tribunal and as the

Arbitrator under the Airlines Agreement. Despite the

variety and enormous burden of these duties, he

discharged them with distinction.

. The Attorney-General paid tribute to the

public service of Sir John and said that he was sure

that his passing would be mourned not only by the legal

profession but by all Australians.

Senator Durack offered sympathy to Lady

Spicer and other members of Sir John's family in their



3 January 1977.


. * * * * *



' The Attorney-General, Senator Peter Durack,

today announced the appointment of four Senior Judges

of the Family Court of Australia and a new Judge of the

Court in Queensland.

The new Senior Judges are:-

Australian Capital Territory - Mr Justice Ellis

Victoria - Mr Justice Emery

Tasmania - Mr Justice Wood 1

Queensland - Mr Justice Simpson.


All of the new Senior Judges were previously

Judges of the Family Court.

The new Judge of the Court in Queensland is

Mr Peter Francis Underhill, 49, Deputy Director of the

Australian Legal Aid Office in Brisbane since 1975.

The Attorney-General said Mr Underhill's

appointment to the Court followed the resignation of

the Senior Judge, Mr Justice Demack, who had been

appointed to the Supreme Court of Queensland.

Mr Underhill, married with two sons, was

educated at Nudgee . College, the University of

Queensland (B.A., LL.B.) and London University. He was

admitted to the Queensland Bar in 1957. He practised as

a barrister from 1963 .to 1975 and has had wide

experience in Family Law.

He was awarded an O.B.E. and the United

nations Peace Medal in 1977 following extensive

executive service on international U.N. - organisations

which included being President of the United Nations

Association of Australia.

Announcing the new appointments in

Queensland, Senator Durack paid tribute to the work of

Mr Justice Demack as a Senior Judge of the Court. .

Mr Justice Demack was the first appointment

made to the Court in Queensland. He had played a

leading role in establishing the Court in Queensland

and his judicial skills had left an imprint on the

Court throughout Australia.

Senator Durack said Mr Justice Simpson would

replace Mr Justice Demack as the Senior Judge in

Queensland. Mr Justice Simpson was an experienced Judge

of the Court and had an extensive legal practice before

his appointment to the Bench.


Mr Justice Ellis, the Judge in t he. A.C.T.,

was one of 5 original Judges of the Court. Mr Justice

Emery was the most senior Judge in Victoria after the

existing Senior Judge, Mr Justice Asche. Mr Justice

Wood was the senior of the 2 Judges in Tasmania.

The Attorney-General said the appointment of

the four Senior Judges meant that each State and

Territory served by the Family Court now had a Senior

Judge. New South Wales and Victoria now each had two

Senior Judges.

Senator Durack said he was considering the

appointment of a Judge of the State Family Court in

Western Australia as a Senior Judge of the Family Court

of Australia. This was desirable as many of the. appeals

from the State Family Court were heard by the Family

Court of Australia. All States would then have Senior

Judges on the Family Court.

The Attorney-General said the new

appointments would take effect from 31 January 1978.


26 January 1978


***** '


Deputy Director, Australian Legal Aid Office, Brisbane.

Age 49, (Born 30 January 1928): married with 2 sons.

Educated at Nudgee College; University of Queensland

(B.A., LL.B.); London University.


Admitted to practise as a barrister of Supreme Court of

Queensland 1957; practised as a barrister 1963/75; had

a wide practice including a family law practice.

Appointed Deputy Director of ■ Australian Legal Aid

Office 1975; as such is in charge of all offices of

A.L.A.O. in Queensland. Approximately 80 per cent of

A.L.A.O's work is in family law. '

Immediate past President of united nations Association

of Australia; International Vice Chairman of World

Federation of· United Nations Associations (1977).

National Vice-President of UNICEF. Executive member of

Austcare and Australian Freedom from Hunger Campaign.

Chairman, Queensland Handicapped Persons Week.

Awarded O.B.E. (1977); U.N. Peace Medal (1977).



The Attorney-General, Senator Peter Durack

today announced the appointment of part-time members to

the Law Reform Commission and the Administrative

Appeals Tribunal.

The appointments date from January 26 and are

for varying periods ranging from 11 months to three


The two appointments to the Law Reform

Commission are:

. Mr John Ewens, C.M.G., C.B.E., 70, a

. former First Parliamentary Counsel and

Acting Solicitor-General and Secretary of

the Attorney-General's Department -

appointed for two years. .