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Richard Edward O'Connor

1851 – 1912

Richard Edward O'Connor (1851-1912), barrister and judge, was raised and educated in Sydney. He attained a BA and MA at Sydney University before commencing his study of law in 1874. He was admitted to the Bar in 1876, supplementing his income with law reporting and writing for various papers. He worked as Crown Prosecutor for the NSW northern district from 1878 to 1883 and, after a period of private practice, was elected to the NSW Legislative Council in 1888. O'Connor served as Minister for Justice (1891-1893) and Solicitor General (1893) and as a Supreme Court judge (1898-1899). With Barton, a lifelong friend, O'Connor was a founder of the Australian Federation League and the Central Federation League. A delegate to the Federal Conventions of 1897-98, O'Connor contributed to the drafting of the Australian Constitution and was elected as a senator for NSW in the first federal election in 1901. As leader of the Government in the senate, O'Connor oversaw the passage of the Judiciary Bill, by which the High Court of Australia was established. With Barton and Griffith, he was appointed to the High Court in September 1903.

Updated 2018