The Federation Press

Sir Charles Lilley

Premier 1868-1870 and Second Chief Justice 1879-1893 of Queensland


J M Bennett’s new biography shows the mercurial figure of Lilley to be one of the giants of colonial Australia, a politician who took on the squatter class and forced democratic reform, earning the enduring, virulent hatred of his opponents; a Chief Justice of brilliant calibre until his one disastrous mistake.

“Sir Charles Lilley has proven a polarising figure, often subject to caricature and ridicule. As Dr Bennett observes, the record of Lilley’s formidable achievements has been distorted by adversaries, particularly the mostly hostile press of the time, or overshadowed by some infamous errors of judgment. All of this has to date inhibited a balanced appraisal of his life. Dr Bennett’s biography goes a long way towards redressing the imbalance.

The author’s narrative reveals a man of accomplishment: newspaper editor, a “founding father” of the legal profession, the first Queen’s Counsel in Queensland, reformist politician, Attorney-General, Premier and Chief Justice.”
The Hon Paul de Jersey, AC, Chief Justice of Queensland (from the Foreword)

Table of Contents

Foreword by the Hon Chief Justice Paul de Jersey AC
List of Illustrations
“Dramatis Personae”

1. “What a Radical He was Cherishing”
2. “I Came Poor and Unbefriended”
3. Editorial Themes
4. “His Views are Strongly Liberal”
5. “The Coming Man”
6. A Militia Bill – “Perfectly Uncalled For”
7. “No Gentleman had Higher Claims”
8. “Criminations and Recriminations”
9. “Fighting Hard Battles”
10. “In Opposition, One of the Most Valuable Members”
11. “The Ministry Obtained Their Position by Fraud”
12. The Lilley Court
13. Some Causes Célèbres
14. The Court and the Legal Profession
15. Storm Clouds Gathering
16. The Tempest
17. A Troubled Retirement and Reluctant Departure
18. Reserved Judgement

A Note on Two Lilley Portraits in Oils
Statute Index

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