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Goulburn Evening Penny Post, Tue 14 Jun 1881 1

GOULBURN PROGRESS COMMITTEE.

    A MEETING of the above committee was held at Belmore Chambers on the 10th instant. Present—Mr JT Gannon (the president, in the chair), the Mayor, Captain Rossi, and Messrs A Lansdowne, E Ball, and LH Fitzgerald. The following matters were brought on for consideration:—

    NEW COURT HOUSE.—It was resolved that the Member for Goulburn be requested to enquire when the new court house will be started.

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Goulburn Evening Penny Post, Thu 13 Oct 1887 2

CIRCUIT COURT.

    The new court-house will be used for the first time to-morrow at the Circuit Court, at which his Honor the Chief Justice, Sir FM Darley, will preside.

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The Southern Argus, Fri 14 Oct 1887 3

OPENING OF THE NEW LAW COURTS.
————

    The recently completed Law Courts were opened this morning, in the presence of a large assemblage of citizens and visitors. Long before 10 o’clock, the galleries were crowded by ladies and gentlemen, all assembled to witness the opening ceremony. The large and commodious Circuit Court, supplied with every requisite necessary to secure the convenience of the officials, and of the general public, could not have been seen to greater advantage, than was the case this morning, when the presence of the ladies relieved it of that particular dullness which usually pervades the halls of justice. The arrangements were very complete, and the change from the old building, where all was crush and confusion on the occasion of the holding of our principal Courts, to a building so commodious and complete as the new one, was pleasing in the extreme.

    Before the Court opened, His Honor, the Chief Justice read the following:—

    Before this court opens for the first time for the transaction of public business I desire to address to you a few words. I congratulate the inhabitants of Goulburn and its circuit district upon the possession of so splendid a court as the one in which I now sit—a courtroom which I venture to say takes rank amongst the best courtrooms in any part of her Majesty’s dominions; and I fain hope the day is not far distant when, at any rate, the foundation-stone of courts worthy of the metropolis of this great country may be laid in Sydney, though I do not flatter myself that I will be so fortunate to preside in such courts. While I thus address you, I take the opportunity of congratulating the whole of the great southern district of the colony, on the almost total absence of crime, certainly of any serious crime. From my observation of the Wagga Wagga, Albury, and Deniliquin circuit, and from personal experience from having come this circuit twice this year, I am entitled to hold the opinion that no more law-abiding, orderly, peaceable (and I trust God-fearing) people exist than those who inhabit this great southern district; and the highest compliment I feel I can pay to the district is to express the hope that this great building may continue to be as it now is—more for ornament than for use. In conclusion, I pray that the Almighty grant that the happy state of things to which I have alluded may long continue; that He will guide those who from time to time may preside here to a right judgment in all things; that His blessing may rest upon their labours.

    Mr CE Pilcher said that on behalf of the members of the Bar, he quite concurred with the words which fell from His Honor, the Chief Justice. He made some further remarks, but owing to the acoustic properties of the Court room being defective, and the noise at the rear of the Court being so great, it was impossible so [sic] distinguish them.

    On the Bench, CS Alexander, Esq, PM, and C Cowper, Esq, Sheriff, occupied seats. Mr J Martin acted as Judge’s associate. The Bar was represented by Mr J Dillon, Crown Prosecutor, Mr CE Pilcher, Mr R Colonna-Close, Mr Murray, Mr Street, Mr E Lamb, and Mr Linsley, Barristers-at-Law. Mr Williams, Crown Solicitor, was also present. The following Solicitors were in attendance: Messrs AM Betts, J Davidson, HS Gannon, H O’Brien, HP Sugden, and F O’Brien.

    During the course of the morning the Chief Justice made reference to the noise which was created, in consequence of the seats in the Court not having been made secure, through want of time, and remarked that he thought it would be necessary for them to adjourn to the old courthouse again. It is probable that the sittings will be continued to-morrow morning in the old building.

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Goulburn Evening Penny Post, Sat 15 Oct 1887 4

THE COURT-HOUSE BANQUET.

The banquet in celebration of the opening of the new court-house took place last night in the hall of the Mechanics’ Institute, and was attended by a distinguished company of about 70 gentlemen. The Mayor presided, and on his right were—the Chief Justice (Sir FM Darley), the Church of England Bishop of Goulburn, and Mr W Teece, MP, and on his left the Attorney-General (Hon BR Wise), the Sheriff (Mr Cowper), Lieutenant-Colonel Holborow, MP, and Mr E Ball, MP. The vice-chairs were occupied by Mr CS Alexander, PM, and Mr AM Betts. Apologies for non-attendance through ill-health were read from the Hon J Chisholm, MLC, and Mr Walter Douglas, and the following letter from Mr Justice McFarland:—

CS Anderson, Esq, PM, Goulburn.

Union-street, Sydney,
7th October, 1887.

My Dear Sir,—I beg to thank you and the other members of the committee for your courtesy in inviting me to be present at the banquet to be given in connection with the opening of your new court-house; but my duties in Sydney will prevent my profiting by that kindness.

I regret this the more remembering (as I shall ever do) the uniform consideration which I have experienced from the profession, magistrates, and people of Goulburn during the twenty years I have been its District Court Judge and Chairman of Quarter Sessions.

My acknowledgements are equally due to the local press, which has reported the proceedings of those courts during that long period so ably, faithfully, and impartially.

Very sincerely yours, dear sir,
Alfred McFarland.

    Host Simons of the Commercial Hotel provided a good spread.

    The Mayor proposed in brief and most suitable speeches the toast of “Her Majesty the Queen and Royal Family” and “His Excellency the Governor.”

    Mr Betts proposed the health of “His Honor Sir Frederick Darley, Chief Justice of the Colony.” He said the office was to his mind the most important and responsible of all the public offices of state in the land. The duties falling to the Chief Justice required for their right and proper discharge ability of the most varied character. He must possess a full knowledge of the law and of the principles of jurisprudence in all its branches; he must be well versed in the decisions of the superior courts of England and Ireland and our own colony; he must be well acquainted with the procedure of the different courts over which he and the other judges are called upon to preside; and, not the least important, he must possess a temper and disposition which in all cases and under all circumstances will enable him to preserve strict impartiality. He ventured to say that Sir Frederick Daley possessed every one of these qualifications in the highest degree. (Applause.) He undertook to say that his Honor’s acceptance of the office met with the entire approval of every member of both Houses of Parliament, of the two branches of the profession, and of every member of the community. He would like to say a few words with regard to the old building which had been vacated. Strange to say, although he had made inquiries in all directions, he had been unable to find any person present when it was first used or who could name the day when it was first opened for the transaction of the business of the Supreme Court in this colony. It appeared to have been opened in the year 1846 or 1847; and he had been told, but with no degree of certainty, that Sir Alfred Stephen presided. Before that the building used for a court was situated in the flat, across the creek; and that building having been washed away with a flood the authorities went to the other extreme, and hired a room in the house now occupied by Dr Ellis on the hill behind the Cathedral. In that room the first Circuit Court was held. A short time afterwards what is now known as the old building was constructed, and from that time to this it had continued to do good work for the state. In those times the whole of the circuit business of the south and south-western district was transacted in Goulburn. The district extended to Balranald and Wentworth on the west, to Albury on the south, and to Tumberumba [sic], Bombala, and Tumut. For many years the circuit court always occupied a fortnight, and nearly always the full term of three weeks. The leaders of the bar used to attend every circuit, and the holding of the Assizes was quite an event in Goulburn. The townspeople used to flock in crowds to hear the barristers carrying on their forensic encounters. Amongst those who used to take part he might mention the names of Lowe, Forster, Broadhurst, and Darvall, and later on of Martin and Manning. Before he concluded he begged to accord to his Honor on behalf of the resident magistrates and the members of the profession practising in Goulburn a most hearty welcome to Goulburn on this important occasion, and their deep respect for his Honor’s person and the office which he filled with such credit and honor to himself and with such undoubted and vast benefit to the community. (Great applause).

    Sir Frederick Darley, who was received with great enthusiasm, said he had to acknowledge with gratitude the way in which the toast of his health had been proposed, and the way in which it had been received. He rather thought it must be more due to the office that the man—the man had never deserved what they had accorded to him that night. Before he commenced that which he desired to say to them, he would correct one impression of Mr Betts. He had told them that in all probability the old court-house was opened in 1846 as a Supreme Court. He thought if Mr Betts made some inquiry he would find that in that year and many subsequent years there was no Supreme Court in Goulburn at all. In those days it was held at Berrima. In 1851 Bathurst, Maitland, and Berrima were the only places at which Circuit Courts were held. Therefore he did not think it likely his very esteemed and venerable friend, Sir Alfred Stephen, opened the court as a Supreme Court. It had given him very great pleasure to preside at the opening of their new court-house, and the words which he addressed to those present that morning were from the bottom of his heart. He did feel that it would be a great privilege when they were permitted even to lay the foundation-stone of a court which would be worthy of the metropolis of this colony (applause); and it did seem somewhat singular that while country towns—he supposed he ought to call Goulburn a city—such as Yass and Young possess most beautiful structures Sydney should be left with the same poor old court-house that it had in the year 1823, when the population of the colony was something like, he should say, one-twentieth what it is now, and the importance of the colony had not yet been discovered. He hoped it would be his lot to be present even at the laying of the foundation-stone of the new courts—he scarcely expected to be on the bench when they would be opened for the transaction of business. He fancied that his days would be spent in the old building in King-street, and he hoped he would be permitted to see very useful work done even in that old building. The building was quite inadequate to the transaction of the business of this great colony. The present Government through the Minister of Justice, Mr Clarke, had done a great deal in adding the carrying on of business. They had authorized and were now building two temporary courts which would facilitate the carrying on of business; and they were also transferring the Equity offices from the replete and overflowing old building in King-street to premises which had been fitted for the purpose; so that the Government were doing all they could do at present. They could not by a stroke of a magic wand create a new building; all they could do—which he hoped they would—was to commence the building as soon as possible. Had it ever occurred to them what was the business that was carried on in the Supreme Court of this colony in Sydney? The Supreme Court sitting in Banco was the appeal Court of the whole of this colony, and there was no jurisdiction, no matter how low or high, in which there was not an appeal in some shape or other to the Supreme Court; so that in point of fact the Supreme Court had the guardianship and care of the liberties of every man, and had to see that no man either in his liberty or his property was in any way molested. It had been truly said that the law there administered ought to be for a terror to evil-doers and a strength and support to those who had right on their side. Unfortunately, through a chain of circumstances over which the judges of the past nor of the present had any control, a state of things had existed in the Supreme Court and still existed which was to a certain extent lamentable. There was a large quantity of arrears in business. Arrears meant delay, and delay meant denial of justice to the litigants. However, the present Government had again come to the aid of the judges, and had appointed during the past year a sixth judge; and he was glad to think that the person to whom that lot had fallen was his very distinguished friend – Mr Matthew Henry Stephen. (Applause). A bill was now before the Legislature which would have the effect of creating a seventh Supreme Court Judge—that was to say, it was proposed by that bill, if it became law, as he trusted it might, for he believed a better law and one more calculated to promote the interests of the mercantile classes in this community was never placed on the table of the House—he meant the Bankruptcy Bill which his hon friend, the Attorney-General, was so ably conducting through the House—that the present Commissioner of Insolvent Estates should be a judge of the Supreme Court with full jurisdiction to transact all the bankruptcy business of the colony in the Bankruptcy Court; in other words, that he would not have to send to other branches of the court to collect the bankrupt estates, but might do it himself. The result was that the court hoped to go on well, and the judges preserving their health, he trusted that before that day year he should be able to say there were no arrears in the Supreme Court, and that they were abreast of their business. He hoped in the conduct of things an entire change might take place. These changes were not a reflection on the judges of the past. The judges of the past worked, he believed, as no men in their position ever worked. He, who had recently left the Bar—although he was proud still to belong to the body, the living, working Bar—he knew of their work, and he knew that no men ever so worked, so unselfishly, with such an utter disregard of their comfort and their health as the judges we had had in this colony; and if in the future there should be any arrears it was no reflection on the past—it was because in the past the judges were undermanned. At present he believed with the assistance the Government were striving to give them they would be able to carry on the business without arrears. He hoped next year to have continuous sittings, and that in place of 17 weeks of sitting in Banco they would have 30 weeks, and also increase the sittings for the trial of causes to a very appreciable extent indeed. Before sitting down he wished to say a few words about a gentleman largely connected with them all—he alluded to his very dear old friend, Sir William Manning. Sir William, as they knew, had resigned or was about to resign—he (Sir Frederick Darley) was not in a position to know exactly how that stood, but this he did know—that he felt the deepest regret that Sir William could never again take his place. He had been a faithful servant of the public. Fifty years ago this month he first entered the public service. He had given the country fifty years of faithful service. Unstinting, self-denying, self-abnegating, he had given the public the best he could give it, and if now in his old age he was compelled to give up service it was only what might be expected of a man—he could not live for ever, neither could he work for ever. In losing him from the bench the people lost a valuable public servant, and he only hoped and trusted that in the mercy of Providence Sir William Manning might be spared to carry on such useful work as he could do, although the fatigues of the Bench at his great age were too much for him. He thanked them for the too flattering way in which his health had been drunk, and trusted that what he had said in the morning might come true—that the new building might be more for ornament than use, at least so far as the criminal court was concerned. (Great applause.)

    The Mayor proposed “The Ministry” in a capital speech, making special eulogistic reference to the Attorney-General.

    The Hon BR Wise, in responding, said he gladly recognised that this was not an occasion for party politics. He was sorry to say we had too much party politics; and although he had not had the honor to be long in office he had had the good fortune to serve under one whose motto pre-eminently is — The state above party. Through all his life he would remember the lessons he had learned from that great man, to have served under whom, whatever his (the speaker’s) course in future years, would always be his greatest pride; and he should know that, independently of all immediate party advantage, that which a government ought first to aim at is that the business of the country should be carried on as effectually and as speedily as Ministers believe themselves able to carry it on and with the best methods they can conscientiously devise. The Ministry had done their best to fulfil the promises made on taking office. They done [sic] their best to ensure a new system of commercial freedom and to ensure a system of retrenchment the fruits of which would be seen upon the next estimates. Upon meeting Parliament some few weeks ago the Ministry renewed, in a more explicit form, the promises which were made upon the hustings; and he thought everyone would remember that some in the community [some text missing here] with ridicule rather than applause. There were some who said that the Governor’s speech was a mere showman’s manifesto, telling of things that the country might look for, but not telling of anything that the Government intended to accomplish. He said emphatically that there was no measure mentioned in the Governor’s speech which if the Ministry had a fair opportunity given them—and he believed they would have—they would not carry into law before the end of the session. So far as they could and with the support of a majority in the House the Ministry would carry into effect all the important measures foreshadowed in the speech. The Amended Land Bill and the Local Government Bill had already been introduced to the House. The latter was the result of long previous labour on the part of the Colonial Secretary; and he said unhesitatingly that when that measure was carefully perused it would be seen to bear upon it the impress of vast experience and would be the most complete and the most carefully considered measure of local government which was possessed by any of the Australian colonies. In the preparation of that bill the Ministry had had the advantage of Sir Henry Parkes’ previous experience in dealing with similar measures. They had had also the advantage of the experience which had been made by other colonies; and the result would be that when the bill was submitted to Parliament, although there might be useful discussion on matters of detail, if there is any fair intention on the part of Parliament to assist the Government in carrying on the business of the country, although the bill is a lengthy one there was no reason why it should not be carried into law in a short space of time. They, as a Government, thought they had a right to ask that the country should assist them in their endeavours to see that their measures laid before Parliament were carefully and legitimately considered, and that they were right in asking the country to join them in protesting against the time of the country being consumed in motions of adjournment upon matters of absolutely no public interest. (Applause.) There were many means of impeding legislation without publicly branding the users with the title of obstructionists, and the Government asked the country to watch carefully what was being done in Parliament, and if they saw the forms of the House were being used for the purpose of obstruction to give the Ministry its moral support in enabling them to put it down and permitting them to transact the business of the country. The Government were ready to deal fairly by the country, to perform every promise they had made, and to proceed with measures now before the House if they were allowed to do so. On an occasion like this, a banquet to celebrate the opening of the court-house, it would not be out of place if he were to refer specifically to two measures which would be made public in the course of a few days—he referred to two very important measures relating to the administration of justice. As had been said by Sir Henry Parkes the Government meant systematically to pursue a course of law reform. They were not going to attempt law reform piecemeal, but they had a clear and definite programme of what they intended to accomplish if the House would permit them, and they were systematically working out a scheme which they believed—and they thought their belief was justified by the experience of other colonies—would prove of great advantage to the whole community by lightening the expenses of litigation and expediting its processes. In a few days a bill would be introduced by Mr Salomons for bringing the practice of the Supreme Court more into harmony with modern ideas and making it more applicable to the new relations which have arisen in modern times. He would only mention one simple matter—simple in itself, but important in the injustice which it often works— which this measure would alter. At the present time a plaintiff who had a perfectly good claim against a man, say for goods which he has sold to him, which the defendant does not dispute, he might have to wait six months before he could claim a judgment, and even then only obtain it at the cost of £50. All that the plaintiff had to do was to put in what was really a fictitious plea of not indebted to compel the plaintiff to go through the costly process of a Supreme Court action which the defendant never intended to defend and for which the plaintiff must engage counsel and secure the attendance of witnesses. Under the measure to be introduced all that was swept away. It would be open to the plaintiff to call upon the defendant to supply the judge within three or four weeks with a defence of the action, and the plaintiff would be enabled to have judgment forthwith signed upon the writ. One would have thought practice like that would have been introduced years ago. It had been the law in England; but unfortunately common sense of that sort had not prevailed here. The Government would also in connection with the Bankruptcy Bill introduce a measure dealing with bills of sale, having two objects—to prevent fraudulent bills of sale and to relieve poor debtors from the clutches of money lenders charging extravagant rates of interest. He thought the bills he had mentioned would show that the Government were earnest in their endeavours at law reform. Those on the other side of the House who said that the Government were not in earnest, when they saw Mr Burns’ budget and proposed taxation would see that the Government were too serious to please them; because the Government would not go back on its policy to secure commercial freedom to this great colony—they would not turn their back on the policy which had raised New South Wales to the first place of the Australian colonies, but on the contrary would do all they could to widen its influence and give to the community the advantages which can only be obtained by a system of unrestrained intercourse between this country and foreign nations. And those gentlemen would be disappointed who thought that when this Government talked about a property tax they were not in earnest; a property tax would most certainly come, and there was no word uttered by Sir Henry Parkes when referring to that tax that would not be literally fulfilled. He hoped he had not transgressed the limits set for a speaker on an occasion like this. He thanked them for the way in which they had received the toast. He felt great responsibility in being called to answer for the first time to the toast of the Ministry. He would only say that he looked forward with some confidence to the fulfilment of the good wishes expressed towards him by his friend Mr Tait, because the Ministry had at their head a man of all others the man competent to guide the country in a difficult crisis, the man with the largest mind to see what the requirements of the country were and with the clearest perception to see the means by which those needs may be satisfied. If he might be allowed to reveal at all events one Cabinet secret he would say this—Before he entered the Ministry he had been told that Sir Henry Parkes was arrogant. He had heard many other hard things said about him of his conduct to his colleagues; but he might say this—that never had he met a man with whom it was a greater pleasure to work, never had he met a man under whom he could work with greater confidence, never had he met a man the strength of whose character and the gentleness of whose disposition became more and more apparent the closer one was brought into connection with him; and at this, his time of trouble, when he had been taunted by some with what aftertimes would hold to be his greatest claim to glory—his poverty—at such a time he felt a double pleasure in expressing his pride at being the colleague of such a man and his deep conviction that the country would never suffer so long as he remained at the head of its affairs. (Great applause.)

    Mr Cowper (Sheriff) proposed “The Parliament” in a speech brimful of interesting reminiscences. He said that no district in the colony had had a better class of men to represent it than had been returned by the people of Goulbourn [sic], and he mentioned the names of Bradley, Faithfull, Roberts, Driver, Deniehy, JH Plunkett, E Butler, and Davies. The gentleman who now represented the town had been born amongst them and educated amongst them; his brothers held high offices and had been thought a great deal of not only by the people of their native city but the people throughout New South Wales generally. They had as representative of their country in Colonel Holborow a gentleman belonging to a good old family—a practical man, and just the kind of man to represent a constituency like this. In Mr Ball they had a gentleman of whom they might feel proud. He was proud to say he could recall the time when Mr Ball had filled an under position to that which he now occupied. He had reared a family of which not only he but every other man amongst them had cause to be proud, and he had shown that no matter what position a man might occupy in private life he could raise himself to the highest office in the state if he earned the respect of his fellow men. He saw an old friend present in Mr Andrew Gibson—a representative of that fine old branch which had done so much for the city and its surroundings.

    Mr Teece after replying in general terms to the toast said that personally it was particularly gratifying to him to be there that night because he had had some connection with the temple of justice the opening of which they commemorated. Mr Sutherland in 1878 was Secretary for Public Works, and the same gentleman at the present time occupied the same position in the present administration. To Mr Sutherland they were indebted for the initiation of all the public buildings in Goulburn. In the year to which he referred, acting, he believed, on the recommendation of the Colonial Architect, Mr Sutherland proposed that all the public buildings in Goulburn should be centred in one site—that the [text missing in the original document] commanding pile of public buildings all to be erected in the present reserve with [text missing in the original document] Auburn, Montague, and Sloane streets. This idea was subsequently modified, and the buildings had been erected in the positions in which they now stand. The first vote for the court-house was placed upon the additional estimates of 1881. It amounted to £20,000, and it had been succeeded by some further votes, whilst provision had yet to be made for the dwarf wall and iron railing and also for the tree planting. It had been thought by many that the structure was too costly. He alluded to that for the purpose of pointing out that most of the public buildings in Goulburn, and especially the court-house, had been erected not from ordinary revenue which had been produced by taxation, that was to say, the buildings had not been erected by customs duties, by stamp receipts, or by any ordinary revenue, but by appropriation from surplus revenue derived from the sale of land. It was maintained by many that the proceeds of these lands ought to be used to wipe off a portion of our national indebtedness; but successive administrations had contended—and very properly so, too—that it was the best policy to devote the moneys derivable from out waste lands to the erection of buildings of public utility. It was fortunate such had been the case with Goulburn, for revenue from the sale of public lands was now disappearing. Unless the court-house had been commenced some few years ago Goulburn would have had to be content with a much less commodious structure, or, what was more probable, it would have been forced to conduct its business in the old premises.

    Lieutenant-colonel Holborow and Mr Ball also responded.

    Mr Alexander, PM, proposed in a few appropriate words, “The Colonial Architect and the Contractor.” He referred in laudatory terms to the work of the Colonial Architect, and said, with reference to Mr Jones, that so far as he could judge, he had carried out his contract faithfully. He mentioned in the course of his remarks that he had been informed that when the old building was erected people said it was too large.

    Mr Barnet (Colonial Architect), in replying, said that he did not consider the court-house was perfect more than any other work. A judge had once told him that the old court in Darlinghurst was the worst place for sound he had ever seen; a short time ago he told him it was the best. He hoped that with a fair trial the Goulburn court-house would become a Darlinghurst some day. Goulburn was now well supplied with public buildings; and Dr Manning, whom he was expecting in a few days, desired to finish it with a lunatic asylum. He acknowledged the way in which the two superior officers, Mr Farr and Mr Murray, had done their duty in connection with the work. Mr Jones, the contractor, had done well at Bathurst, and had also done well here.

    Mr Jones also returned thanks. He said the building was undoubtedly the best court-house in the colony both in regard to appearance and substantiality. He had been a builder for upwards of 58 years, and he could say he had never worked under a better architect than the one he had done this job under. Mr Barnet was fortunate in having the services of such officers as Messrs Ramsay, Murray, and Farr. Mr Farr was one of the most practical men he had ever met. With regard to the work he claimed to be an honest contractor, and in that he was only doing his duty.

    Lieutenant-Colonel Holborow proposed “The Bar, coupled with the name of Mr CE Pilcher.”

    Mr Pilcher replied in a very able speech, in the course of which he made graceful allusion to the fact that he had been Sir Frederick Darley’s first pupil in the colony.

    Dr Ray, in a speech which was replete with the finest of humour and which was greatly appreciated, proposed “The Ladies,” and Mr Colonna-Close ably responded.

    Mr John Davidson proposed “The Press,” in a few appropriate words, and Mr A Ellis, JP, responded for the three local journals.

    Mr Wise proposed the health of “The Mayor,” and in doing so expressed the hope that before very long he would be back in his proper place in Macquarie-street.

    Mr Tait, in replying, said that so long as Parliament remained what it was last session—though he must certainly admit it was improving—Macquarie-street would never see him again. He was quite prepared to devote some of his time to the country’s good, but he was not prepared to sit in Parliament House all night to hear men talk for six or seven hours at a stretch. When the time came that the work of the country was done in a reasonable time he would offer his services to some electorate.

    A most successful celebration was then brought to a close, and the company dispersed.

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The Goulburn Herald, Sat 15 Oct 1887 5

NEW COURTHOUSE, GOULBURN.
———◦———

AN event of great interest in the history of this city took place yesterday, when the new courthouse was opened by his Honor the chief-justice, by holding the Assizes within the building.

    To those in the habit of attending the various courts held in this city it will be cognisant that the old courthouse has for some years past been unfitted for a court of justice in a city of the importance of Goulburn. This fact was recognised by the authorities, and in January 1884 a contract for a new building was let to Mr D Jones, then a resident of Bathurst, for the sum of £24,593, which has with extras been increased to about £30,000. As the building was to be erected upon the site of the old jail, which was then occupied by prisoners who could not be removed until the new jail was ready for their reception, the contractor did not commence the work until the month of August 1884, when a beginning was made with the demolition of the jail and sufficient progress was made with that work by the 13th October to enable the foundations of the new courthouse to be commenced. On the 27th of the following month, Mr Farr, clerk of works from the colonial architect’s office, placed a bottle containing copies of the Sydney Morning Herald and the Goulburn Herald, together with a number of coins under the site of the dome, and this may be looked upon as the real beginning of the work. The time allowed for the completion of the contract was two years and a half, but in consequence of numerous delays the building was not completed to time. Now that the building is finished, Goulburn has every reason to be proud of it, as without doubt it is one of the handsomest government buildings in the provinces.

Goulburn Courthouse designed by Colonial Architect, James Barnet. Photo: Peter de Waal
Goulburn Courthouse designed by Colonial Architect, James Barnet.
Photo: Peter de Waal

    The design is of the Italian order with Ionic intermixed, and the courthouse consists of a main building with two wings attached. The material is brick and stone upon massive concrete foundations with ashlar dab stonework as high as the basecourse with rubble inside. It has tree fronts of red and white pressed bricks, the whole of which are tuck-pointed. 100,000 pressed bricks, buff and red, were obtained from Newcastle. In the front are brick piers and pilasters with Ionic caps, above which is a heavy stone cornice with mouldings, blocking, and balusters, giving the front a handsome appearance. At the end towards Auburn-street are two pediments in which is carved stonework representing the Southern Cross and waratah flowers with a lion overhead. This carving is well done upon Pyrmont stone. On top is a heavy stone cornice pediment.

    The main building and front wing are 198ft long by 78ft wide, and the back wing is 16ft 2in by 80ft. This wing was originally intended to contain two jury-rooms with sheriff’s room between and a room for the legal profession; but now the two jury rooms have been made into one to answer as a dining room for jurors, and the room intended for the legal profession has been taken as a jury-room. The legal profession are accommodated with a room in the front portion of the building. The rooms in this wing have separate yards and conveniences.

    The main entrance faces Montague-street, and is reach by a flight of slate steps 18ft wide. The floor of the entrance porch is paved with black and white marble. At each side are colonnades 60ft long and 8ft wide, which are laid with cement, composed of broken granite and cement laid on a concrete foundation. The entrance is of pressed bricks with four Ionic columns in single stone with a semi-arch overhead. In the centre of the keystone is a head of the Queen cut in stone. The carving of this is considered by those competent to judge an excellent likeness of her Majesty at the present time. Above the carving is a heavy cornice pediment. The porch is 23ft by 8ft. The ceiling is composed of concrete.

    From the porch you enter a hall 16ft long by 7ft wide and over the entrance is a carved lion’s head. A spacious staircase of Castlemaine slate on each side leads into a balcony surrounding the hall and into the galleries of the courtrooms. The balcony is carried by massive wrought iron brackets made by Messrs Ball and Co of Goulburn, and is floored with boards. The balcony is enclosed with turned wrought iron balusters 3ft high, and an iron handrail is continued round and down the steps to the entrance-hall.

Goulburn courthouse, opened 14 Oct 1887. Photo ID: SRNSW 4481_ a026_ 000531.jpg
Goulburn courthouse, opened 14 Oct 1887.
Photo ID: SRNSW 4481_ a026_ 000531.jpg

    Passing through the hall the vestibule is reached. It is of octagon shape and is 22ft 6in square. The ceiling is composed of concrete, in which are eight circular widows, by which the vestibule is lighted. The roof is built of hardwood and redwood, strongly bolted together with iron ties. Over this is a dome 20ft high and covered with muntz metal, with ridge-rows 2ft 6in apart, covered with the same material. Above the dome is a crown and a cross made of muntz metal. This is a fine piece of work, made by Mr Jordan of Elizabeth-street, Sydney. The water from the dome is brought into a lead gutter cut into the stonework, and then carried by lead down-pipes on to the roof below. The height from the floor of the vestibule to the top of the cross is 72ft.

    From each side of the vestibule are corridors 84ft long and 7ft wide. These are lighted by large sky-lights and lead to the various apartments and to the court-rooms.

    From the vestibule a hall is entered which is 28ft and 35ft by 28ft high. This is lighted by windows at the back. The ceiling is a very heavy enriched plaster cornice; and from the centre is fixed a gas chandelier, for which and for ventilation provision is made.

    Passing along, a corridor 50ft long and 7ft wide is entered, and from it by means of swing doors an entrance is obtained to the court and jury rooms on one side, and on the other to the crown law officers’, magistrates’, and witnesses’ rooms with all necessary conveniences. The whole of these floors are paved with black and white marble tiles laid on an 8in concrete foundation.

There are two courtrooms, one for the assizes and quarter sessions, the other for the petty sessions. They are both about the same size, 54ft 3in long by 35ft 3in wide and are fitted with upper and lower galleries for the use of the public. An entrance to these galleries can be made from the balcony. The entrance into the courthouse is through four double swing doors 4ft 6in wide hung with Smith’s patent hinges I with the top panels filled in with plate ground glass.

    The canopy over the judge’s chair in the circuit courtroom is supported by massive cedar carved brackets, and the sides filled in with ornamental work cut out of the solid representing various sorts of native fruits and flowers. The whole of the top and back is of moulded cedar-work, and the royal arms, carved in wood, have been affixed on top. The judge enters from his rooms through a door at the back of the chair. The jury are provided with chairs instead of a jury box, and witnesses when giving evidence stand in a corner of the judge’s bench between him and the jury. This is an innovation which is thought will be beneficial. The sheriff’s officer is provided with a seat beside the desk of the judge’s associate. Opposite the jury and at right angles with the judge’s seat desks are provided for four reporters, with chairs, drawers, &c, complete. At the side of the reporters, accommodation has been provided for jurymen in waiting. Next to the jury are places for the jailer and the police. The dock is of wrought iron and is of a very massive description. It is 8ft long by 6ft 6in wide. Prisoners are brought to it along an underground passage of brick and concrete communicating with a staircase at the back of the building leading to the cells. A space of 13ft by 35ft under the galleries is divided into sitting accommodation for magistrates and other officials. The upper gallery is supported by heavy massive wrought iron box-girders made to suit the fall of the floor. The front of the gallery is ornamental wrought ironwork. The court-rooms are lighted by an elliptic arch over the judge’s and magistrates’ canopies and ten other windows, which are filled in with ground plate glass, with a space between sashes of 2½in for ventilation. The ceiling is divided into fifteen panels with richly wrought wood cornices, and in the centre of each panel and at the sides are perforated cast zinc and lead ventilators. Three feet above this ceiling is another ceiling boarded over, which it is expected will improve the acoustic properties of the court-room, and prevent dust from coming through. The magistrates’ court-room is provided with an underground passage for conducting prisoners from the cells, and with desks, &c, for four reporters.

    The courtrooms are each heated with two fire-places in the angles of the rooms with enriched wooden mantlepieces and open fire-places.

    Six feet above the floor of the courtrooms are cedar panel dados moulded. The pilasters, caps, and strings are coloured white and the walls a straw-colour lined giving a pretty effect.

     At the rear of the circuit courtroom is a corridor leading to the judge’s and associate’s rooms. Passing out of these by a door and down a flight of steps, a garden, intended for the judges, is entered. It is 32ft by 24ft, and has attached to it all necessary conveniences. It is enclosed by a wall of white pressed bricks 9ft high.

    In the man building and front wing there are rooms for the attorney-general and the magistrates, each 25ft 7½in by 22ft 9in, and eight other rooms of various sizes with yards and conveniences.

    The joinery work throughout the building is of cedar and is French polished. Most of the rooms have cornices and centreflowers and marble mantel-pieces. The corridor doors are fitted with fanlights hung with patent rod fastenings instead of lines and pulleys.

    A complete system of drainage has been provided.

    At the rear of the building and connected with it by a covered way are quarters for the court-keeper, consisting of four spacious rooms and a washhouse, with a yard. A three-stalled stable, coachhouse, and forage room have been provided for the use of officials; also conveniences for the public, and three cells with offices for the confinement of prisoners while the court is sitting.

    The arrangements for lighting the building with gas are complete, and prevent any waste. The supply is drawn from the Auburn-street main, and there is a large stopcock outside the western end of the building. There is a separate supply to the keeper’s quarters and out-offices. In the corridors of each of the courts there is a stopcock to shut off the gas from the courts, and a hundred-light metre is supplied for each of the courts. The courts are lighted with twenty gaslights affixed to strong brass standards; the supply comes from underneath the floors of the courtrooms, the piping is iron, and access to it is easily obtained. All-fancy globe lights are hung in the corridors, six in each, and the judge’s, the associate’s, the attorney-general’s, and large rooms are supplied with rich ornamental water-slide gasaliers. In the hall is erected a neat and massive twenty-light all glass sunlight, with a nine inch ventilating flue to carry away through the ceiling the hot air. This sunlight has a separate supply with stopcock complete. Independent of this there are also four fancy brackets to light the gallery. The vestibule is lighted with hour gas brackets. Over the entrance to the judge’s garden a very elaborate crown design lamp has been erected. In the yards fancy hexagon lamps have been placed. The courthouse-keeper’s quarters are fitted up in a similar manner, with water-slide gasaliers and fancy globe lamps.

    The stonework has been faithfully carried out my Mr JW Furber, and the carving throughout the building has been done by Mr Collins in an artistic style that shows him to have a thorough knowledge of and great skill in his trade. Mr WB Hardwicke was entrusted with the joinery, and in every item is the clean finish and good joinery perceptible, the well-formed mouldings and angles being worthy of special comment. The plaster work and enrichments show Mr John Norman’s skill and taste in the artistic production, enriching every part of the building, in which Mr W Taberner, as foreman, proved himself a valuable assistant. The painting, decorating, and French polishing reflect creditably upon the workmanlike manner in which Mr E Quartly carried out his sub-contract. The gasfitting and plumbing were performed by Messrs Bramble and Son, and they have done their work faithfully and with promptitude, only a month having elapsed since they received instructions to proceed with the gasfitting. The fittings were chosen by Mr Bramble, who has exhibited much taste in his choice.

    Previous to his departure for England some few months ago, Mr James Farr, resident clerk of works for the southern district, with the assistance of Mr W Roylance, foreman of works in the colonial architect’s department, supervised the work, and since Mr Farr’s absence Mr Murray of the colonial architect’s department has been in charge.

    Some difficulty in hearing the witnesses was experienced yesterday in the assize court-room. This was to a large extent owing to the fact that for want of time the seats in the gallery had not been properly fixed, and with every movement gave forth cracking noises. At one time the chief justice said he was afraid it would be necessary to adjourn to the old courthouse. The annoyance however was subsequently partially moderated, and the adjournment did not take place. Another cause of difficulty in hearing arose no doubt from persons unaccustomed to speak in so large a room not raising their voices sufficiently. Otherwise the acoustic properties of the room are fairly good, and the judge and barristers were heard distinctly enough.

————————
THE GOULBURN ASSIZES.
———◦———

THIS court was opened yesterday in the new courthouse before his Honor Sir Frederick Darley, chief-justice; Mr WJ Martin, associate. Mr C Cowper, sheriff, was present, and with Mr CS Alexander, police magistrate, occupied seats on the bench. Mr J Dillon prosecuted for the crown, and Mr John Williams junior represented the crown-solicitor. The other legal gentlemen present were Messrs CE Pilcher, Colonna-Close, Murray, Street, E Lamb and Linsley (barristers), and Messrs Betts, Davidson, H O’Brien, Gannon, FW O’Brien, HP Sugden, and E Howard (solicitors).

    Great interest centred in the event, as it was the first sitting held in the new courthouse, and there was a large attendance, including a number of ladies.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Sydney Morning Herald, Sat 15 Oct 1887 6

The NEW COURTHOUSE at GOULBURN.
———◦———
(By Telegraph.)
(From Our Own Correspondent.)

Goulburn, Friday.

    The new courthouse, which has been erected at a cost of £39,000, was opened to-day by the Chief Justice (Sir FM Darley). In doing so his Honor said:—Before this court is opened for the first time for the transaction of public business I desire to address to you a few words. I congratulate the inhabitants of Goulburn and its circuit district upon the possession of so splendid a court as the one in which I now sit, a courtroom which I venture to say takes rank amongst the best courtrooms in any part of Her Majesty’s dominions; and I fain hope the day is not far distant when at any rate the foundation-stone of courts worthy of the metropolis of this great country may be laid in Sydney, though I do not flatter myself I will be so fortunate as to preside in such courts. While I thus address you, I take the opportunity of congratulating the whole of the great Southern district of the colony on the almost total absence of crime—certainly of any serious crime. From my observation of the Wagga Wagga, Albury, and Deniliquin circuit and from personal experience from having come on circuit twice this year, I am entitled to hold the opinion that no more law-abiding, orderly, peaceable, and, I trust, God-fearing, people exist than those who inhabit this great Southern district; and the highest compliment I feel I can pay to the district is to express the hope that this great building may continue to be, as it now is, more for ornament than for use. In conclusion, I pray that the Almighty may grant that the happy state of things to which I have alluded may long continue, that He will guide those who from time to time may preside here to a right judgement in all things, and that His blessing may rest upon their labour. Let the Court be now opened.

    Mr Pilcher, as senior member of the Bar present, made a few remarks. The business of the assizes was then proceeded with.

    A banquet in celebration of the opening of the new Courthouse was held in the hall of the Mechanics’ Institute to-night. About 70 gentlemen sat down. Mr F Tait, the mayor, presided. Mr CS Alexander, PM, and Mr AM Betts were vice-chairmen. On the right of the chairman were the Chief Justice, the Anglican Bishop of Goulburn, Mr W Teece, MLA, and on his left were Mr Wise, Attorney-General, Mr Cowper, the sheriff, Mr Holborow, MLA, and Mr E Ball, MLA. An apology for absence was read from Judge McFarland. After the loyal toasts had been proposed and responded to, the toast of “His Honor the Chief Justice” was proposed by Mr AM Betts, who said that the present occupant of the highest judicial office was one of whom the whole company might be proud. The Chief Justice responded, and in the course of his speech said that he hoped, if not to preside, at least to be present at the laying of the foundation-stone of the new court building in Sydney. The present buildings were quite inadequate for the proper conduct of judicial business. He spoke sorrowfully of the retirement from the bench of Sir William Manning, who had always been a most faithful servant of the public, and who, through extreme age, would in future be unable to sit on the bench, although his assistance in other ways would be valuable. The Mayor proposed “The Ministry.”

    The Hon BR Wise responded, and in doing so said that he was certain the public would give them credit for their endeavour to carry out their hustings promises. One important measure had already passed through Parliament, and two others were expected to be passed in the course of a fortnight—the Local Government Bill and the Land Bill , The Bankruptcy Bill was now before the House, and when the other bills which were to be introduced—the Bills of Sale Bill and the Supreme Court Practice Bill —were carried he was sure the electors would give them credit for good intentions. The matter of law reform was most important, and the Government intended to carry out a systematic scheme in this direction. He spoke in the highest terms of the private and political character of Sir Henry Parkes, saying that his term of office under that distinguished statesman would ever be the greatest pride connected with his career. “The Parliament” was proposed by the sheriff, Mr C Cowper, and was acknowledged by Messrs Teece, Holborow, and Ball. The next toast was “The Colonial Architect and the Contractor,” proposed by Mr CS Alexander, Police Magistrate. Mr Barnet and Mr D Jones responded. The toasts of “The Ladies” and “The Press” concluded the toast list.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Southern Argus, Mon 17 Oct 1887 7

OPENING OF THE NEW LAW COURTS.
————
THE BANQUET.

ON Friday evening last, the opening of the new Law Courts was celebrated by a banquet, which took place in the hall of the Mechanics’ Institute. About 70 gentlemen attended, and Mr F Tait, Mayor of Goulburn, occupied the chair, having on his right Sir FM Darley, Chief Justice, His Lordship the Right Rev Dr Thomas, Bishop of Goulburn, and Mr Teece, MLA, and on his left the Attorney-General (Hon BR Wise), the Sheriff (Mr Cowper), Lieutenant-Colonel Holborow, MLA, and Mr E Ball, MLA. The vice-chairs were occupied by Mr CS Alexander, PM, and Mr AM Betts. The chairman read apologies for non-attendance from the Hon J Chisholm, MLC, and Mr Walter Douglas, who excused themselves on account of ill-health. The following letter was also read from His Honor Judge McFarland:—

Union Club, Sydney,                                                                                                                                                                                              7th October, 1887.

My Dear Sir,—I beg to thank you and the other members of the committee for your courtesy in inviting me to be present at the banquet to be given in connection with the opening of your new court-house; but my duties in Sydney will prevent my profiting by that kindness.
I regret this the more remembering (as I shall ever do) the uniform consideration which I have experienced from the profession, magistrates, and people of Goulburn during the twenty years I have been its District Court Judge and Chairman of Quarter Sessions.
My acknowledgments are equally due to the local press, which has reported the proceedings of thos courts during that long period so ably, faithfully, and impartially.

Very sincerely yours, dear sir,
Alfred Mcfarland.

CS Alexander, Esq, PM, Goulburn.

    A very excellent repast was provided by Mr J Simons, of the Commercial Hotel, from whose establishment also came the wines, &c, all of first-class quality.

    The chairman proposed in suitable terms the loyal toasts—“The Queen and Royal Family,” and “His Excellency the Governor,” both of which were received with much enthusiasm.

    Mr AM Betts submitted the toast of health to “His Honor Sir Frederick Darley, Chief Justice of the Colony.” The office, in his opinion, was one of the most important and responsible in the land, as the duties to be discharged by the Chief Justice required ability of the most varied character to effect their proper discharge. He must possess a full knowledge of the law, and of the principles of jurisprudence in all its branches; he must be well acquainted with the decisions of the Superior Courts of England and of our own country, and he must possess a temper and a disposition which in all cases, and under all circumstances, will enable him to give his decisions without partiality. He (the speaker) was bound to say that Sir Frederick Darley possessed all these qualifications in a marked degree. His Honor’s acceptance of the office of Chief Justice met with the approval of both Houses of Parliament, of the two branches of the profession, of every member of the community. With regard to the old building which had just been vacated, he would like to say a few words. Although he made inquiries in all directions, he, strange to say, had been unable to find any person who was present when it was first used, or who could name the date when it was first used for the transaction of business of the Supreme Court of this colony. From what he had learned, however, it appeared that it was opened about the years 1846 or 1847, and he had been told that Sir Alfred Stephen presided. Before the building in question was constructed, the court was situated on a flat across the creek; it having been washed away by a flood, the authorities went to the other extreme and hired a room in the house now occupied by Dr Ellis on the hill behind the Cathedral, and in that room the first Circuit Court was held. In those times the whole of the Circuit business of the south and south- western districts was transacted in Goulburn; the district extended to Balranald and Wentworth on the west, to Albury on the south, and Bombala and Tumut. The Circuit Court for many years always occupied a fortnight, oftentimes the full term of three weeks. The leaders of the bar used to attend every Circuit and the holding of the Assizes was quite an event in Goulburn. Amongst the leading barristers who visited Goulburn on these occasions he might men- mention [sic] the names of Lowe, Forster, Broadhurst, and Darvell, and later on, Martin and Manning.. In conclusion, and on behalf of the resident magistrates and the members of the profession practising in Goulburn, he (Mr Betts) offered his Honor a most hearty welcome to Goulburn, and expressed their deep respect for his Honor’s person and the office which he occupied with such credit to himself and such vast benefit to the whole community (applause).

    Sir Frederick Darley said he was very grateful for the kindness which he had received. He thought that the honor done him must be due rather to the office than to the man—the man had never deserved what they had accorded him that night. Before he proceeded with what he desired to say he would correct one impression of Mr Betts. That gentleman had remarked that in all probability the old Courthouse was opened in 1846 as a Supreme Court, but he (the speaker) thought if Mr Betts would make some inquiry he would find that in that year and for many subsequent years no Supreme Court was held at Goulburn at all. In those days the the [sic] Supreme Court for the Southern District was held at Berrima. There were only three places in which Circuit Courts were held in 1857—Maitland, Bathurst, and Berrima. Therefore, he did not think it was likely that his esteemed and venerable friend, Sir Alfred Stephen, opened the old courthouse as a Supreme Court. He did feel that it would be a great privilege when they were even permitted to lay the foundation-stone of a court which would be worthy of the metropolis of this great colony; and to him it did seem singular that whilst country towns like Yass and Young, possessed most beautiful structures, Sydney should be left with the same poor old courthouse that it had in 1823, when its population was one-twentieth of what it now was. He hoped it would be his lot to even be present at the laying of the foundation-stone of the new courts,—though he scarcely fancied he would be on the bench when they opened for business. He thought his days would be spent in the old courthouse in King-street, and he hoped he would be permitted to see some very useful work done yet in the old building—though it was quite inadequate to the transaction of the business of this colony. The present Government, through the Minister for Justice, Mr Clarke, had done a great deal towards the carrying on of business; they had authorised the building of two temporary courts, and they were were [sic] also transferring the Equity offices from the building in King-street to premises which had been filled up for the purpose. Had it ever occurred to them the extent of the business carried on in the Supreme Court in Sydney. The Supreme Court sitting in Banco, was the Appeal Court of the whole of this colony, and there was no jurisdiction, no matter how low or high, in which there was not an appeal in some shape or other to the Supreme Court; so that in point of fact that Court had the guardianship and care of the liberties of every man, and had to see that no man was in any way molested, either in his liberty or in his property. Unfortunately, a state of things, over which the judges of neither the past or present had any control, had grown up in the Supreme Court, and still existed. There was a large quantity of arrears in business. Arrears meant delay and delay meant denial of justice to letegants [sic]. However, the present Government had again come to the aid of the judges, and had appointed during the past year a sixth judge; and he was glad to know that the appointment fell to the lot of his distinguished friend, Mr Matthew Henry Stephen. A Bill was now before the Legislature which would have the effect of creating a seventh Supreme Court Judge. It was proposed by this Bill, if it became law—and he trusted that it would, for he believed that a better law, and one more calculated to promote the interests of the mercantile classes of the community never was placed on the table of the House than the Bankruptcy Bill which his hon friend, the Attorney-General, was so ably conducting through the Assembly—that the present Commissioner of Insolvent Estates should be a judge of the Supreme Court with full jurisdiction to transact all the bankruptcy business of the colony in the Bankruptcy Court. In other words, he would not have to send to other branches of the court to collect bankrupt estates, but might do this business himself. Under these altered circumstances, he (the Chief Justice) hoped that by that day twelve months, he would be able to say that there were no arrears in the Supreme Court, and that they were abreast of their business. These changes were no reflection on the judges of the past, who worked, he believed, as no men in their position ever worked. He, who had recently left the Bar—although he was still proud to belong to the living, working Bar—he knew the judge’s work, and he knew that no men ever worked so unselfishly, and with such an utter disregard for their health and their comfort, as had the judges of this colony. The fact was that the judges of the past were undermanned. Now, with the assistance which the Government was striving to give them, he believed there would in future be no arrears. He hoped next year to have continuous sittings, and instead of 17 weeks’ sitting in Banco, they would have 30 weeks, and also increase the sittings for the hearing of causes to a very appreciable extent indeed. Before concluding, he wished to say a few words about a gentleman largely connected with Goulburn—he alluded to his very dear old friend, Sir William Manning. Sir William, as they knew, had either resigned or was about to resign, and he (the Speaker) having recently seen him, was in a position to say, and he deeply regretted it, that Sir William could never take his seat on the Bench again. He had been a most faithful servant to the public. Fifty years ago this month he first entered the service, and, unstinting, self-denying, self-abnegating, he had given the public the best service he could give it. If now, in his old age, he was compelled to give up his position, it was only what might be expected from a man, who could not live, neither could he work for ever. In losing Sir William Manning from the Bench, the people lost a valuable public servant, and he (the Speaker) hoped and trusted that in the mercy of Providence his old friend might be spared to carry out such useful work as he could do, although the fatigues of the Bench at his great age were too much for him. In conclusion, he thanked them once again for the honour they had done him, and trusted that the words he had uttered that morning would come true—that the new building might be more for ornament than use, as far, at least, as the Criminal Court was concerned (loud applause).

    The Mayor proposed the Ministry, and during the course of a brief speech, said the Ministry had performed all that they had pledged on the hustings. Whilst they all regretted the absence of that distinguished statesman, Sir Henry Parkes, they would extend a hearty welcome to the brilliant and youngest Australian Minister, the Hon BR Wise. He (Mr Wise) was but a young man yet and had great opportunities before him, and he (the speaker) was assured that when Mr Wise retired from office he would leave behind him a record of which any man might be proud. (Applause.)

    The Hon BR Wise was received with much enthusiasm, and said that he recognised the fact that this was not an occasion for the introduction of party politics, of which, he was sorry to say, they had too much. Although he had not the honor to be long in office, he had had the good fortune to serve under one whose motto was “The State above Party.” Through all his life he would remember the lessons he had learned from that great man, to have served under whom would always be his (the speaker’s) greatest pride. That which a Government ought first to aim at was that the business of the country should be carried on as effectually and as speedily as Ministers believe themselves capable of transacting it, and with the best methods that they can conscientiously devise. The present Ministry had done their best to fulfil the promises they made on taking office; they had done their best to ensure a new system of commercial freedom, and to effect a system of retrenchment, the results of which would be seen upon the next Estimates. On meeting Parliament a few weeks ago the Ministry renewed, in a more explicit form, the promises they made on the hustings. There were some who said that the Governor’s speech was merely a showman’s manifesto, which told of things which the country might look for, but which did not tell of anything which the Government intended to accomplish. He said emphatically that there was no one measure mentioned in the Governor’s speech which the Ministry, if allowed, would not carry into law before the end of the session. The Local Government Bill and Amended Land Bill had already been introduced to the House. The former was the result of long previous labour on the part of the Colonial Secretary, and he (the speaker) said that when carefully perused it would be seen to bear upon it the impress of vast experience, and would be found to be the most complete measure of Local Government possessed by any of the Australian colonies. The result would be that,—although the Bill was a lengthy one, and useful discussion on matters of detail connect with it might take place, he saw no reason why it should not be carried into law in a very short time, if there was any fair intention on the part of Parliament to assist the Government in the carrying out of the programme. The Government thought they had a right to ask that the country should assist them in their endeavours to have the measures they laid before Parliament carefully and legitimately considered, and that they were right in asking the country to join them in protesting against the waste of valuable time on motions of adjournment, upon matters of positively no public interest. He asked the country to watch carefully what was being done in Parliament, and if they saw the powers of the House being used for the purposes of obstruction, to give the Ministry their moral support in their endeavours to put it down. On an occasion like this, a banquet to celebrate the opening of the new Law Courts, he thought it would not be out of place to refer specifically to two measures which would be made public during the course of a few days—two very important measures relating to the administration of justice. As Sir Henry Parkes had stated, the Government intended to pursue a systematic course of law reform. They were not going to attempt it piecemeal, but they were working out a scheme which they believed would prove of great advantage to the whole community, by lightening the expenses of litigation and expediting its processes. In a few days, a Bill would be introduced by Mr Salomons, for bringing the practice of the Supreme Court into harmony with modern ideas, and for making it more applicable to the new relations which have arisen in modern times. One simple matter—simple in itself, but important in the injustice which it often occasions—he would mention. At the present time a plaintiff who had a perfectly good claim against a man, say for goods which he had sold to him, which the defendant does not dispute, might have to wait six months before he could claim a judgment, and even then only obtain it at the cost of £50. All that the plaintiff had to do was really a fictitous [sic] plea of not indebted to compel the plaintiff to go through the costly process of a Supreme Court action, which the defendant never intended to defend, and for which the plaintiff must engage counsel and secure the attendance of witnesses. Under the measure to be introduced all that was swept away. It would be open to the plaintiff to call upon the defendant to supply the judge within three or four weeks with a defence of the action, and the plaintiff would be enabled to have judgment forthwith signed upon the writ. One would have thought that such a practise as this would have long ago been introduced here, as it had long been the law in England. The Government would also introduce, in connection with the Bankruptcy Bill , a measure dealing with the matter of bills of sale, having two objects, vis: to prevent fraudulent bills of sale, and to relieve poor debtors from the clutches of money lenders charging exorbitant rates of interest. He thought that the introduction of these bills would give a fair earnest that they were serious in the matter of law reform. Those on the other side of the House, who said that the Government were not in earnest regarding their proposals, would, when they saw Mr Burns’ budget on proposed taxation, find that the Government were too serious to please them; because the Government would not go back on their promise to secure the commercial freedom of this great colony—they would not turn their back on the policy which had raised New South Wales to the premier place of the Australian colonies. On the contrary they would do all they cold to widen its influence, and give to the community the advantages which can only be obtained by a system of intercourse with foreign nations. And those gentlemen who asserted that the Government were not sincere in stating that they would introduce a property tax, would be disappointed, for a property tax would come, and there was no one word uttered by Sir Henry Parkes in reference to that tax which would not literally be fulfilled. He thanked them for the generous manner in which they had received the toast, and felt it a great honour and responsibility to be called upon for the first time to respond for the Ministry. The Ministry had at its head, the man of all others most competent to guide the country in a difficult crisis—the man with the largest mind to see what the requirements of the country were, with the clearest perception to see the means by which those needs might be satisfied. Before he (Mr Wise) entered the Ministry, he had been told that Sir Henry Parkes was arrogant, and he had heard many hard things said respecting the Premier’s conduct towards his colleagues; but if he might be allowed to reveal one Cabinet secret, he would say this, that he had never met a man with whom it was a greater pleasure to work; never had he met a man under whom he could work with greater confidence; never had he met a man the strength of whose character and the gentleness of whose disposition became more and more apparent the closer one was brought into connection with him; and at this, his time of trouble, when he was taunted by some with what in aftertimes would be his greatest claim to glory—his poverty—at such a time, he said, he felt a double pleasure in expressing his pride at being the colleague of such a man, and his deep conviction was that the country would never suffer whilst Sir Henry Parkes remained at the head of it affairs (prolonged applause).

    Mr Chas Cowper (Sheriff) in a most interesting speech, proposed “The Parliament.” He called to mind reminiscences of his early life in the Argyle district, and said that no district in the colony had been represented by a better class of men than had Argyle. It was sufficient for him to mention the names of Bradley, Roberts, Faithfull, Driver, JH Plunkett, Deniehy, E Butler, and Wm Davies. He had himself had the honour of proposing on the hustings one of the greatest of these names—Daniel Henry Deniehy. The gentleffian [sic] who now represented the city (Mr Teece) had been reared amongst them; his brothers all held high offices, and were thought a deal of, not only by the people of their native city, but by the people of the colony generally. In Colonel Holborow, Argyle had a gentleman belonging to a good old family—a practical man, and one of the right kind to represent a constituency like this. And Mr Ball, the junior member, was a gentleman of whom all might feel proud. He (the speaker) could recall the time when Mr Ball had filled a different position to that which he now occupied; but, by his exertions, he had risen, and had shown that no matter what position a man might occupy in private life, he could raise himself to the highest office in the State, if he earned the respect of his fellow-men. They would pardon him if he failed to recollect or mention the names of many of his dearest friends, though he saw one present in Mr Andrew Gibson, a representative of a fine family, which had done so much for the city and its surroundings. He asked them all to drink to the Parliament of New South Wales.

    Mr Teece (Goulburn) in replying said that he was gratified to be present that evening he had had something to do with the Temple of Justice, the opening of which they were celebrating. Mr Sutherland in 1878 was Secretary for Public Works, and the same gentleman at the present time occupied the same position in the present administration. To Mr Sutherland they were indebted for the initiation of all the public buildings in Goulburn. [In that year,] mentioned [sic] acting, he believed, on the recommendation of the Colonial Architect. Mr Sutherland proposed that all the public buildings in Goulburn should be centred in one site—that the court-house post and telegraph offices, and lands, money, and roads offices should form one commanding pile of public buildings all to be erected in the present reserve with frontages to Auburn, Montague, and Sloane streets. This idea was subsequently modified, and the buildings have been erected in the positions in which they now stand. The first vote for the courthouse was placed upon the additional estimates of 1881. It amounted to £20,000, and it had been succeeded by some further votes, and provision had yet to be made for the dwarf wall and iron railing and also for the tree planting. It has been thought by many that the structure was too costly. He alluded to that for the purpose of pointing out that most of the public buildings in Goulburn, and especially the court-house, had been erected not from ordinary revenue which had been produced by taxation, that was to say, the buildings had not been erected by customs duties, by stamp receipts, or by any ordinary revenue, but by appropriation from surplus revenue derived from the sale of land. It was maintained by many that the proceeds of these lands ought to be used to wipe of portion of or national indebtedness; but successive administrations had contended—and very properly so, too—that it was the best policy to devote the moneys derivable from our waste lands to the erection of buildings of public utility. It was fortunate such had been the case with Goulburn, for revenue from the sale of public lands was now disappearing, unless the court-house had been commenced some few years ago Goulburn would have to be content with a much less commodious structure, or, perhaps it would have been forced to conduct its business in the old premises.

    Lieutenant-Colonel Holborow acknowledged the toast in a brief speech, in which he remarked that he was prepared to accord to the present Government his support, and was sure that the excellent beginning they had made, warranted his doing so.

    Mr E Ball also replied in a short speech.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Goulburn Herald, Tue 18 Oct 1887 8

THE COURTHOUSE BANQUET.
———◦———

THE opening of the new courthouse, Goulburn, of which a descriptive account appeared in our last, was celebrated on Friday night in the hall of the mechanics’ institute, at which a representative company of about seventy gentlemen sat down to an excellent repast provided by Mr Simons of the Commercial Hotel, and tastefully laid out.

    The chair was occupied by the Mayor of Goulburn (Mr F Tait), who had on his right his Honor the Chief-Justice (the guest of the evening), the Bishop of Goulburn, and Mr Teece MP for Goulburn, and on his left the Hon BR Wise, attorney-general, Mr Cowper, sheriff, Colonel Holborow and Mr Ball, MsP for Argyle. The vice-chairs were occupied by the Police Magistrate (Mr Alexander) and Mr Betts (solicitor). Among the company were also Mr Barnet, colonial architect, Mr Jones, contractor for the building; Messrs Dillon (crown-prosecutor), Pilcher, Colonna-Close, Murray, Street, Lamb, and Linsley (barristers); and Messrs Davidson, Gannon, and Sugden (solicitors); also the Ven Archdeacon Pownall, Rev AT Puddicombe, Drs Gentle, Morton, McKillop, and Ray; Aldermen Richardson, Wombey, and Hawkins; Messrs AF Gibson, AL Faithfull, W Davis, C Rogers, and other prominent residents of the city and district and visitors.

    The hour appointed was seven, but it was about twenty minutes to eight when the Bishop of Goulburn said grace. After an interval pleasantly spent in satisfying appetites which had become impatient, the Chairman read letters of apology from the Hon James Chisholm, MLC, who regretted that he was not sufficiently well to attend; from Mr Walter Douglas, who regretted a severe cold prevented his being present, otherwise nothing would have given him greater pleasure than to attend a banquet in honour of the chief-justice; and from his Honor Judge McFarland, as follows:—

Union Club, Sydney,
7th October 1887.

CS Alexander Esq, PM.

    My dear sir,—I beg to thank you and the other members of committee for your courtesy in inviting me to be present at the banquet to be given in connection with the opening of the new court-house; but my duties in Sydney will prevent me from profiting by that kindness.
I regret this the more, remembering (as I shall ever do) the uniform consideration which I have experienced from the profession, magistrates, and people of Goulburn during the twenty years I have been its district court judge and chairman of quarter-sessions.
My acknowledgments are equally due to the local press, which has reported the proceedings of those courts during that long period so ably, faithfully, and impartially.

Very sincerely yours, dear sir,
Alfred McFarland.

    The Chairman proposed successively Her Majesty the Queen and Royal Family, and the Governor, which were loyally honoured. He then called upon Mr Betts to propose the toast of the evening.

    Mr Betts said, when his Honor the chief-justice visited Goulburn on the first occasion after his acceptance of office, an address of congratulation was presented to him. It was known then that the new building would be used for the next court, and the hope was expressed that his Honor would be able to open the court and preside for the first time as judge of the supreme court in that building. The hopes then expressed had had their realisation in the proceedings of that morning; and as a fitting sequel to those proceedings he had now the honor of submitting to them the toast of his Honor Sir Frederick Darley, chief justice of the colony. (Cheers.) The position of chief-justice was to his mind the most important and responsible of all public positions in this land. The abilities necessary for the right and proper discharge of the duties of that position were of the most varied and important character. A gentleman occupying the position of chief-justice must possess a thorough knowledge of the law and of the principles of jurisprudence in all its branches; he must be well versed in the proceedings of the courts of England and Ireland and of all our colonies; and not least, he must possess such a disposition as would enable him to observe the strictest impartiality. He ventured to say that Sir Frederick Darley possessed every one of these qualities in the highest degree. (Cheers.) It must have been the knowledge of this fact that caused the general outburst of congratulations on his Honor taking this position; and when he took his seat as the first magistrate of the land, it was with the concurrence of every member of both houses of parliament, every member of the profession, and every member of the community. Since the introduction of responsible government, no appointment had ever met with such general approval as the appointment of Sir Frederick Darley. (Cheers.) He would like to say something of the new building, but his friend the police magistrate would speak on that question, and he would say a few words in reference to the old building, which of course was very closely connected with the event of to-day. Strange to say, he had not been able to ascertain any person who was present when that building was opened and first used as a courthouse, or who could give him the date. As far as he could ascertain, it was about 1846 or 1847, and he was told—though not with any great certainty—that Sir Alfred Stephen presided. Before that, the first building used for a courthouse was on the flat across the creek, and when that was washed away by the floods, the magistrates went to the other extreme, and used a building on the hill beyond the new cathedral, where the first circuit court was held, and which was now a private building. A short time afterwards the old courthouse was erected, and from that time to the present it had continued to do excellent service to the state. In those times the whole legal business of the southern and south-western districts, extending to Balranald and Wentworth in the south west, to Albury on the south, to Tumberumba [sic], Bombala, Cooma, and all that part of the country, was transacted here. All the criminal cases, and nearly all the civil business, came to Goulburn; and consequently the circuit courts nearly occupied a fortnight, and sometimes three weeks. The leaders of the bar used to attend; and communication with the metropolis being so infrequent, the holding of the assizes was a great event in Goulburn, and people would flock in to hear the leaders of the bar, amongst whom were Mr Lowe, Mr Foster, Mr Broadhurst, and later on Sir William Manning and Sir James Martin. One was glad to know now that the old courthouse was not to be pulled down, but would be used for purposes closely connected with the administration of justice. In conclusion he begged to express to his Honor on the part of the profession and the resident magistrates their hearty welcome in Goulburn and their desire to show their respect to the high office he filled with such honour to himself and such vast benefit to the community. (Cheers.)

    The toast was honoured with every manifestation of cordiality.

    The Chief justice in responding, said: I have to acknowledge with gratitude the manner in which the toast has been proposed and received. I am inclined to think it must be due rather to the office than to the man. The man has never deserved that which has been given to-night. But before I go further I would correct one impression of Mr Betts, who said that in all probability the old courthouse was opened by Sir Alfred Stephen about 1846. I think he will find that in that year, and for many subsequent years, the circuit court was held at Berrima, and did not extend so far as Goulburn. In 1851, Bathurst, Maitland, and Berrima were the places where circuit courts were held; and therefore I do not think it likely that the old courthouse here was ever used for the sittings of the supreme court in 1846. It has given me great pleasure to preside at the opening of the new courthouse to-day; and the words I addressed then I felt to the bottom of my heart. I do feel it will be a great privilege when we are permitted even to lay the foundation-stone of a court which will be worthy of the metropolis of this colony. (Hear, hear.) And it does seem somewhat singular that a country town—I ought to speak of Goulburn as a city, seeing that my Right Rev friend on my right is its bishop—but it does seem singular that country towns such as Yass and Young should possess most beautiful structures, and that Sydney should be left with the same poor old courthouse of 1821, when the population was some twenty times less and the importance of the colony had not been discovered. I hope it will be my privilege to be present at the laying of the foundation-stone of new court buildings in Sydney, but I scarcely expect to be on the bench when those courts will be opened. I fancy my days will be spent in the old building in King-street, and I hope to see very useful business done in that building, though it is quite inadequate to the transaction of the business of this great country. The present government, through Mr Clarke, minister for justice, have done a great deal to carry on the business. They have authorised two temporary courts, which will facilitate business, and also the transfer of the equity offices from the replete and overflowing building in King-street to premises which have been fitted for the purpose. So that the government are doing all that they can do at present. They cannot create—they cannot as with a magic wand construct a new building; but they are doing all they can. Now, has it ever occurred to you what the business is that is carried on in the supreme court of this colony. The supreme court sitting in banco is the appellate court of this colony; and there is no jurisdiction, no matter how high or how low, in which there is not an appeal in some shape or other to the supreme court. So that in fact the supreme court has the guardianship and care of all our interests. It has the guardianship of the liberties of every man. It has to see that no man, either in his liberty or his property, is molested. It has been truly said that “the law as there administered ought to be a terror to evildoers, and a strength and support to those who have right on their side.” Unfortunately from a chain of circumstances, a state of things has existed, and still exists, which is to some extent lamentable. There is a large quantity of arrears. Now arrears mean delay, and delay means denial of justice. However, the present government have come to the aid of the public and have appointed during the past year a sixth judge, and I am very glad to say the lot has fallen on my very distinguished friend Mr Matthew Henry Stephen. A bill is now before the legislature which will have the effect of creating a seventh judge, if it should pass, as I trust it may, for I believe a better bill, and one more calculated to promote the interest of the commercial portion of this community was never introduced—I mean the Bankruptcy Bill , which my honorable and learned friend the attorney-general is so ably conducting through the Assembly. By that bill it is proposed that the present commissioner of insolvency shall be a judge of the supreme court, with full jurisdiction to transact all the bankruptcy business in that court. It is proposed—and I hope it may be carried—that he shall be a supreme court judge, in which case he will also come in aid. The result is this, that, great as have been the arrears, I hope that—all going well and the judges preserving their health—before this day year I shall be able to say that there are no arrears in the supreme court, and that we shall be well abreast of our business. (Hear, hear.) I hope next year an entire change may take place. And this change will be no reflection on the judges of the past. Those judges have worked as men never worked in their position. I know as a member of the bar what their work was. I know that no man ever worked so unselfishly, with such utter disregard of their own health and comfort, as the judges we have had. There will therefore be no reflection on the judges of the past. In future I believe we shall be well up to the mark, and the business ought to be carried on without arrears. I hope next year we shall have continuous sittings, and instead of seventeen weeks in banco we may have thirty, and increased sittings for the trial of causes to a very appreciable extent. (Hear, hear.) I will now allude to a very dear old friend, Sir William Manning, who is connected with this city. He, as you know, has resigned, or is about resigning—I do not know how the matter stands—but this I know, and for this I feel the deepest regret, that having seen him within the last few days, there is no chance of his taking his position amongst the judges again this year. He has been a faithful servant of this colony. Fifty years ago this month he entered the service of this country, and during those fifty years he has given you faithful service—unstinting, self-abnegating—given you the the [sic] best he could give to you; and if now in his old age he has failed, it is only what is to be expected—a man cannot live for ever, cannot work for ever. But in losing Sir William Manning from the bench you lose a very valuable servant; and I hope that, though the fatigues of the bench are too much for him, he will be spared for a number of years, to carry on much useful work and render services in other ways. (Hear, hear.) I again thank you and I trust that this splendid building which has just been erected may have been erected more for ornament than use, at least so far as criminal business is concerned. (Loud cheers.)

    The Chairman proposed the Ministry. It was not desirable to introduce politics, but the programme would be incomplete without this toast. Some nine months ago the present ministry came into office, and judging from the result of the last general election, they undoubtedly possessed the confidence of a large majority of the people of this country. They came into office in a position of great difficulty, owing to the drought and the state of the finances. They set to work with vigour and made no end of promises, and so far as they had been allowed to do, they had fulfilled the promises they made on the hustings. They had restored commercial freedom, restored confidence, and he trusted they would be able to do the work of the year within the year. He believed he expressed the general sentiment in saying that few things had given the public more pleasure than the Land Act Amendment Bill , and the long-promised Local Government Bill . (Cheers.) His friend on the left had another measure important to the country, the Bankruptcy Bill . He might venture to say that every man present would before he died be either insolvent or a creditor in some insolvency case. (Hear, hear, and laughter.) And if passed this measure would do a noble work and one worth living for. He was sure every one present regretted the absence of that able statesman once more at the head of affairs—Sir Henry Parkes; and he was sure they would all extend a hearty welcome to the youngest attorney-general, whose past was so brilliant and whose future so full of hope; and he predicted that when he retired from office he would leave behind him a record to be proud of. He did not say the government had done everything for us. They had not built us a new railway station, they had not yet given us a site for the fire-brigade station; but we in Goulburn were a long-suffering people; and so long as we saw them doing good for the country, we were content to wait. (Cheers and laughter.)

    The toast was warmly received.

    Mr Wise, in responding, gladly recognised that this was not a party occasion. He was sorry to say we have too much party politics; but although he had not the honour to have been long in office, he had had the good fortune to serve under one whose motto pre-eminently was, “the state above party;” and throughout his life he would remember the lessons he had learned from that great man, to have served under whom, whatever might be his fate in future years, would always be his greatest pride; and he should remember that the government ought to aim that the business of the country should be carried on as effectively and speedily as ministers are able to carry it on, and with the best methods they can conscientiously devise. As the chairman said, the ministry upon coming into office made many promises, and for the first few weeks they were in office they achieved the promises so far as that time lay in their power. They did their best to initiate a new system of commercial freedom, and initiated a system of retrenchment the fruits of which would be seen on next estimates. At that time it was not possible for them to do more. On meeting parliament again a few weeks ago they renewed in a more explicit form the promises made upon the hustings; and he though every one would remember that some in the community received that renewal with ridicule rather than applause—conceiving that it meant nothing, that the Governor’s speech was a mere showman’s manifesto, telling good things which the country might look for, but which ministers never meant to accomplish. Now, he said emphatically that there were no measures mentioned in that speech which—if they had opportunity, and he believed they would—they would not carry into law before the close of the session. They had already given earnest in one large and important measure which was passing through the Assembly. Two others had been laid on the table and would be dealt with in the course of the next fortnight—the Land Bill  and the District Government Bill . These measures had been frequently discussed in their general principles. In the form in which the District Government Bill  appears, it is the result of long previous labours on the part of the colonial secretary; and he said unhesitatingly that when that measure is carefully perused it will be seen to bear the impress of past experience, and will be seen to be the most complete and most carefully prepared local government bill of any of the Australian colonies. (Cheers.) They had the advantage of Sir Henry Parkes’s previous experience and that of the other colonies; and the result will be that although there may be useful discussions on matters of detail, if there is any fair intention on the part of parliament to assist the government to carry out the business of the country, there is no reason why this bill, though it is a lengthy one, should not be carried in a short space of time. There were many ways of impeding business without branding oneself with the title of obstructionist, as for instance by futile and irrelevant motions of adjournment upon questions of no importance and by raising unnecessary points of order; but ministers asked the country to watch these things closely, and to help them by moral support in putting down these proceedings and getting on with the business of the country. It was deliberately incorrect to say the government had no intention of seriously submitting the measures they had promised. On the contrary, they were all of them thoroughly prepared to deal fairly by the country, to perform every promise that had been made; and they were ready to proceed with the measures before the house if they were permitted to do so. It would be out of place to enter into a discussion of the merits of any of the great measures mentioned by the mayor, but on an occasion like this, when so many members of the legal profession were present, he might refer to two measures not yet laid before the house, but which would shortly be submitted—two important measures relating to the administration of justice. As Sir Henry Parkes had intimated, the government meant systematically to pursue a course of law reform, a clear and definite programme, if parliament will permit; and they were systematically working a scheme which he believed would prove of the greatest advantage to the whole community by lightening the expense of litigation and expediting its processes. In a few days Mr Salomons will introduce a bill for bringing the practice of the supreme court more into harmony with modern ideas. He would mention only one matter, small in itself but important in the injustice it often works, which this measure will alter. At the present time a plaintiff who has a perfectly good claim, say for goods sold, which defendant does not dispute, may have to wait for six months before obtaining judgment; and to obtain this may entail heavy expense, by defendant putting in a fictitious plea of never indebted and to compel him to pay, plaintiff must be ready to proceed with a supreme court action, which defendant never means to defend. By the measure they proposed to introduce all this would be swept away. The defendant would be called upon to satisfy the judge that he has a bona fide defence, or otherwise judgment will issue. This was a small matter, but it would greatly relieve the business of the courts. It had been the law of England for twenty years, but the Common Law Procedure Act of 1854 still governs us. In addition to this measure the government would in a few days offer a bill for the prevention of fraudulent bills of sale. In these two measure, in conjunction with the Bankruptcy Bill , he thought the government would have given fair earnest that they were serious in their intention to carry out law reform. There were some who thought they were not serious in financial matters; but he was sure when they saw Mr Burns’ financial statement and the proposals for taxation, they would think them a little too serious. Depend upon it, the government would not go back from principles that would give this country free, unrestricted commerce with foreign nations. Those gentlemen will be disappointed who thought they were not in earnest about the property tax. The property tax will certainly come; and there is no word uttered by Sir Henry Parkes on this subject but will be literally carried out. They will find the government earnest enough, if the country will continue the generous and enthusiastic support extended to them on the hustings. Public opinion could put down unfair opposition in the house, although he did not anticipate such. If obstruction were resorted to, unless the government were supported by outside public opinion they might be prevented from getting their measures through; but if they had support inside and out, he had no doubt the great part of the measures they had promised would become law in a short time. (Hear, hear.) He had no wish to introduce party questions; he wished only to show that there was no foundation for the statement that the government intended to go back from any of their proposals. He felt it a great responsibility to answer for the first time to the toast of the ministry of this great country. He could only say he looked forward with some confidence to the fulfilment of the good wishes expressed by the chairman, because they had at their head the man of all others most competent to guide the country—the man with the largest mind to see what the needs of the country are, and the man with the clearest conception of the means by which those needs can be met. (Cheers.) If allowed to reveal one cabinet secret, he might say that before he entered the ministry he had been told that Sir Henry Parkes was arrogant and hard in his conduct towards his colleagues; but he would say that never had he met a man with whom it was a greater pleasure to work or work with greater confidence, the strength and character and gentleness of whose disposition become more apparent the closer one is brought into connection with him. And at this time of his trouble, when he has been taunted by some with what after-times will hold to be his greatest claim to glory, his poverty—at such a time he felt a double satisfaction in expressing his pleasure at being the colleague of such a man, and his deep conviction that the country will never suffer so long as he remains at the head of its affairs. (Loud and prolonged cheers.)

    Mr Cowper, in proposing the next toast, said when it was first intimated to him that he was to be asked to propose the toast of the Parliament at this banquet he felt it was not the toast for a government official, but recollecting that he was the son of one of the original settlers in this country, that he paid his first visit here forty-four years ago, that he came here to reside thirty-five years ago, and that it was thirty-two years this month since Mrs Cowper came here to reside, he felt it a compliment that he should be asked to propose such an important toast. In early days he took a part in returning to parliament some of their most prominent men. When Mr Terence Aubrey Murray, afterwards Sir Terence (whose son he was glad to see present, and he was sure they would all agree in hoping that he would yet be as much respected and beloved by us all as his father had been), accepted office as minister of the crown, and was unable to visit his constituents in the southern boroughs through the illness of Mrs Murray, he (Mr Cowper) was selected by his committee to fight the election at Braidwood, that being considered the weakest point, as Mr Richard Hardy, who opposed him, had been a gold commissioner and was very popular among the diggers. He afterwards canvassed the county with the late Mr Fitzpatrick for Mr Deniehy, and proposed him at the nomination when he was first elected a member of parliament and was returned without opposition. So that if he was not the oldest inhabitant, he had had something to do with the parliament and district, in days gone by. (Cheers.) As they were now engaged in opening the new courthouse, the want of which had been so long felt in Goulburn, he might say that Sir Alfred Stephen, when presiding at the assize court in Goulburn, never lost an opportunity of complimenting both the magistrates and jurors of the district on the able and impartial manner in which they performed their duties. Those who took an active part in bench duties in those times were the Chisholm Brothers, Faithfull, Rossi, Bradley, Gibson, Stewart, Kinghorne, FCL Thompson of Rhyanna, Edinburgh, Chatfield, and last but not least Francis Macarthur, whose Magistrate’s Guide was a very concise and valuable work, being the only book of reference available until Plunkett’s Magistrate was published. Goulburn and the surrounding districts have always been noted for returning to parliament men who have taken leading positions. The first member was William Bradley, who was followed by Mr Faithfull; then came Sir Charles Nicholson, Speaker of the Legislative Council, who, with his (Mr Cowper’s) father and a few others started our first railway-company; and he recollected, as if it were yesterday, his father’s anxiety to get the report of the first meeting in Goulburn in reference to the matter. The enthusiasm with which the Goulburn people took the matter up turned the scale, and stamped the formation of the first railway company as an established fact. Since we had responsible government these districts have been represented by such men as Terence Aubrey Murray, John Hubert Plunkett, William Roberts, Daniel Henry Deniehy, Charles Hamilton Walsh, Richard Driver, Edward Butler, William Davies, S Emanuel, and Francis Tait. If they searched the colony they could not find better representatives of the particular professions and callings to which they belonged. Bradley, Davies, and Tait, the commercial interest; Roberts, Walsh, Deniehy, and Driver, all occupied leading positions as attorneys; and no two men at the bar stood higher in their branch of the profession or were more highly thought of by the public generally than John Hubert Plunkett and Edward Butler. Of their present members, Mr Teece, who received his education at the public school, belonged to a family who have taken high positions. He had been elected oftener perhaps than any other man for the same electorate without opposition. Mr Holborow was a member of a good old family, and just the man to understand the requirements of a country constituency. He had also paid great attention to a profession much neglected by the natives of the colony, and worthily fills the position of colonel in our colonial army. While Mr Ball had lived amongst them, reared a family amongst them which were a credit to him, and having won the esteem of his fellow-men, now enjoyed the honour he so well deserved. (Cheers.) When he (Mr Cowper) first came to the district, and even up to the time when we obtained responsible government, there were only two bridges between here and Sydney, the one over Paddy’s River, the other over the Nepean at Camden, and only a few miles of macadamised road. The public buildings were of no importance. We have the country now intersected by macadamised roads, and trunklines of railways which enable us to reach Goulburn from Sydney in as many hours as it once took days. The country towns can boast of public buildings which would do honor to the mother-country—churches, public schools, and mechanics; institutes; and for all these they had to thank the parliament; and if parliament only succeeded in giving them a good local government bill, it will be the crowning act of all they had done for the advancement of the country. (Cheers.)

    The toast was warmly received.

    Mr Teece felt sure that he expressed the sentiments of all the members present, his colleagues, and also of the hon attorney-general, in thanking them most cordially for the manner in which they had received the toast of the parliament. He agreed with previous speakers that they should avoid as far as possible all reverence to party politics; but they were gratified with the kind approbation at the hands of the enlightened body of gentlemen assembled there. Now whatever might be the results of the labours of parliament, he was certain of this, that they gave their services faithfully and zealously, with but one desire, and that was to promote the interests of the country. They had had submitted to parliament within the last few days what he venture to call a bold and comprehensive policy; and whatever might be the political opinions of members, he thought they all entertained the hope that the result of their deliberations would be some much-needed practical legislation. They had had placed before them the District Government Bill , to confer upon the people of the country the management of their own affairs. They had had submitted to them the Land Bill , for the management and sale of the crown lands of the colony, and for the further purpose of remedying those defects found to exist in the present law. They had also in an advanced stage the Bankruptcy Bill , to which reference had been made; and they had the Railway Bill , to place the management of our railways upon a firmer foundation, and to have them conducted upon commercial considerations. Now, he thought this programme sufficiently attractive to engage the attention of parliament for some time to come; and he hoped with the attorney-general that there would be no obstruction, but that the members of the legislature would approach these questions anxious to produce some sound reforms. (Hear, hear.) To him personally it was gratifying to be there to-night, because he had had some connection with the temple of justice the opening of which they were commemorating. Mr Sutherland in 1878 was secretary for public works, and the same gentleman at this time occupies the same position I the present ministry. To Mr Sutherland they were indebted for the initiation of this public building in Goulburn. In that year, acting upon the recommendation of the colonial architect, Mr Sutherland proposed that all the public buildings in Goulburn should be concentrated in one site, and that the courthouse, the post and telegraph offices, the land and survey offices, should have one commanding pile of buildings on this site. The idea was subsequently modified, and the buildings erected as they now stand. The first vote for the courthouse was on the additional estimates for 1881, and was a proportion for services of that kind. That vote amounted to £20,000. This had been supplemented by some further votes, and provision had yet to be made for the dwarf wall and iron railing, and also tree-planting. It had been thought by many that these structures had been too costly; but most of these buildings, and especially courthouses, had not been erected from the revenue derived from ordinary taxation, but chiefly by appropriations from surplus revenue from sales of crown lands. It had been maintained by many that the proceeds of these sales ought to be used to wipe off a portion of our indebtedness; but successive administrations—and very properly—thought it was proper to use the amounts in the erection of buildings of public utility. Such had been the case with the Goulburn courthouse; and as the revenue from land sales has now disappeared, had not this building been commenced some few years ago, Goulburn would have had to be content with a much less commodious courthouse, or been forced to conduct its business in the old and unsuitable building now abandoned. In conclusion, he might be permitted to express the hope that in the new temple of justice they had this day opened, pure justice would be administered to all classes, and that hereafter—at least when the bills referred to by the attorney-general were passed into law—we shall hear less of what are known as the glorious uncertainties of the law. (Cheers.)

     Colonel Holborow also responded with great pleasure on behalf of this toast. In regard to the present parliament, he felt that a great deal was expected of it, and that the expectation would be fully carried out. He believed it would spend the people’s money with the greatest economy, and that a lot of useful legislation would be performed. By that he meant that no railways would be constructed unless it could be shown that they would give a fair return on the capital expended; and no courthouses erected unless in places like the city of Goulburn, where it could be shown that they were required. His hon friend the attorney-general had given them a programme which would satisfy the most greedy, so far as law reform was concerned. The Governor in his opening speech had submitted a programme which would take a considerable time to carry out; but as far as he had seen, he repeated, he believed the people’s money would be spent with economy, and a lot of useful legislation carried out during the next twelve or eighteen months. He felt sure that if the government had a fair chance, they would carry out their promises, and if so, parliament would perform such useful legislation as would satisfy the people of this country. (Cheers.)

    Mr Ball also responded. As they were aware he was very young, so far as politics and the duties of a representative were concerned; on the other hand, he had been many years amongst them, and had always taken a lively interest in the welfare of the city and district of Goulburn. He was for some years in the municipal council, and the number of years he was a member of that body showed the confidence the people had in him. Ultimately he aspired to a higher position, that of representative of the people in the parliament of New South Wales. On his first effort he was defeated by a small majority; but on his second, he was elected by a large majority. They elected him under the promise he made to give his earnest support to the present ministry, and also to free-trade. As long as they had that confidence in him he should esteem it a high honour to represent them, and he hoped they would never have any fault to find with his actions in parliament. In accordance with his promise he would use his uttermost endeavours to support the present ministry; and he hoped the course he pursued in parliament would be no disgrace to him nor to those who had placed their confidence in him. (Cheers.)

    The Police Magistrate said, the toast he had to propose for their acceptance was in one sense the foundation of all their proceedings that day, for it was the health of the brains that conceived the building, and the health of the hands that carried it out. They had heard something of how the building was initiated. He presumed it began by the people stirring up the member; the member went to the minister; the minister said to Mr Barnet “draw a plan;” Mr Barnet said to Mr Jones, “carry this out;” and the result was the magnificent structure that had been that day opened by his Honor Sir F Darley. When he (Mr Alexander) first met Mr Barnet about thirty years ago, he was engaged in designing and superintending the erection of those beautiful and quaint gargoyles that adorn the Sydney university. Since then he has dotted the colony over with many useful and fine public buildings, the most graceful being the dome of the Exhibition building so unfortunately destroyed by fire. They often heard architects blamed for designing buildings in advance of present requirements, but he maintained that when architects erect a permanent structure like the courthouse they are bound to take into consideration future requirements; and who can say in a country like this that in twenty or thirty years the courthouse will be one brick too large? It was only a few days ago he was told that when the old courthouse was opened about forty years ago, people cried out that it was too large. He only hoped that when they come to work the new building they would not find that it has a fault which the great Nasmyth says is the fault of modern architecture generally, namely, “that they utilise ornament instead of ornamenting utility.” With respect to the second part of his toast, he knew nothing of Mr Jones until his advent in Goulburn, but he brought with him a reputation of being a careful and conscientious builder, having just completed a building which was known to may of them, the law-courts at Bathurst. (Hear, hear.) He was much struck by the way Mr Jones went to work. He had to pull down the old jail and erect the courthouse partly on its site; and the first thing he did was to select a snug corner in the old jail-yard, and out of the old materials he built himself a house and lived there with his family during the two years he was supervising the erection of the courthouse. As far as he could judge, Mr Jones had carried out his contract in a faithful manner, and he was sure they would all join with him in drinking the healths of Mr Barnet, the colonial architect, and Mr Jones, the contractor. (Cheers.)

    The toast was heartily honoured.

    Mr Barnet, in returning thanks, said he did not consider the new courthouse any more than other buildings, was perfect, but he thought it would be found a good building for the purpose for which it was designed. Sir William Manning at the opening of the courthouse at Darlinghurst told him it was the worst sounding building he had ever been in; but not very long ago he told him it was the best. As he had said, he did not consider the new courthouse here was perfect, but by giving it a fair trial it would eventually become a Darlinghurst. They had now a jail, and a courthouse, and his friend Dr Manning would be here in a few days, when he would want a lunatic asylum, so that the public requirements of the locality were in a fair way to being met. With regard to the officers who had been engaged under him in the erection of the courthouse—Mr Farr (who returned from England the previous day and would have been glad to be present), Mr Ramsay, and Mr Murray, they had done their duty well; and Mr Jones, the contractor, had also done his duty well. (Cheers.)

    Mr Jones did not claim much praise for what had been done, although he must say they had the very best courthouse in the colony, both as to appearance inside and out and as to substantiality. No courthouse was ever put up more substantially, and he thought they should be proud of it. He had been a builder for fifty years in this colony and in England, and he must say he had never worked under a better architect than the one he had done this job under. He must mention also some of his officers as worthy of commendation—Mr Farr, Mr Ramsay, and Mr Murray. Mr Farr was one of the most practical men he ever met with. For himself, he must say this—he claimed to be an honest contractor. (Cheers.) He remembered fifty years ago he went from his native town in North Wales to Liverpool, where he saw many fine scenes. In the Exchange Square there he saw a grand monument to Lord Nelson, with his motto, “England expects every man to do his duty,” which made a great impression upon him. He should wish youths to take a lesson from this. It had influenced his mind from that day to this. (Cheers.) He thanked them very much for the reception they had given to the toast.

    Colonel Holborow, in complimentary terms, proposed the Bar, coupling with the toast the name of Mr CE Pilcher.

    Mr Pilcher responded in a bright and elegant speech abounding with appreciative references to past luminaries of the bar and the bench, and bearing high testimony to the qualification of the present chief justice.

    Dr Ray in felicitous terms proposed the Ladies, to which Mr Colonna-Close responded in a similar vein.

    Mr John Davidson in a pithy and practical speech proposed the Press, to which Mr A Ellis responded on behalf of the local papers.

    Mr Wise proposed the Chairman, who he said was so attached to Goulburn and its interests that he devoted to it the time which should be for the country at large.

    The Chairman, in responding, apologised for the delay which had occurred in commencing the banquet. He was told that the reason was that some of the tables which were to have been used had been burned in the lamentable fire which occurred the previous night. He was pleased, however that the banquet had passed off so pleasantly. As for the reference made to him by Mr Wise, he would say that if parliament remained as it was last session, they would never see him there again. He was quite prepared to devote some of his time to the country’s good, but not to hear people talking several hours at a stretch about nothing. When the time comes that the business of parliament is disposed of in a reasonable time, he might offer his services to some electorate, but not till then.

    The proceedings then closed, and the company separated at eleven o’clock.

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    ASSIZE DINNER.—His Honor the chief justice gave the usual assize dinner at the Commercial Hotel last evening. His Honor presided, and the guests present were the judge’s associate, the sheriff, the attorney general, Messrs Dillon, Pilcher, Murray, Street, Lamb, and Linsley, (barristers); J Williams junior, (from the crown solicitor’s office), Betts, and Gannon (solicitors); the Revs Canon D’Arcy Irvine and AT Puddicombe; the mayor, the police magistrate, Dr Ray, Dr Sly, and Messrs A Gibson, AL Faithfull, AO Moriarty, F Deacon, and SH Belcher. Other gentlemen were invited but were unable to be present.

 


1   Goulburn Evening Penny Post, Tue 14 Jun 1881, p. 2.

2   Goulburn Evening Penny Post, Thu 13 Oct 1887, p. 4.

3   The Southern Argus, Fri 14 Oct 1887, p. 4.

4   Goulburn Evening Penny Post, Sat 15 Oct 1887, p. 4.

5   The Sydney Morning Herald, Sat 15 Oct 1887, p. 10.

6   The Sydney Morning Herald, Sat 15 Oct 1887, p. 10.

7   The Southern Argus, Mon 17 Oct 1887, p. 3.

8   The Goulburn Herald, Tue 18 Oct 1887, p. 2.