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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

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Study "Radical Restraint: A Portrait of Michael Kirby"

1998
Ralph Heimans AM

Image not available (NC)

The Hon. Justice Michael Kirby AC CMG (b. 1939) was a Justice of the High Court of Australia from 1996 to 2009. After graduating in law from the University of Sydney, Kirby worked as a solicitor and then a barrister. In 1974 he was appointed as a Deputy President of the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and from 1975 was also inaugural chairman of the Australian Law Reform Commission. Appointed Judge of the Federal Court of Australia in 1983, the following year he became President of the New South Wales Court of Appeal. In 1996 he was appointed as one of the seven Justices of the High Court. During his first year, Kirby was plunged into the Wik Peoples vs The State of Queensland case, the first major Indigenous land title case following the Mabo decision of 1992. In December 1996 Kirby was among the judges who ruled that the grant of certain Queensland pastoral leases under past Land Acts did not extinguish Indigenous people's rights and interests in the land involved – referring personally to the 'duty which the Crown owed, in honour, to native people who were under the Crown's protection'. In response to the Wik decision, in 1998 the Australian Government amended the 1993 Native Title Act, which had arisen out of the Mabo case. Kirby was President of the International Commission of Jurists from 1995 to 1998; during this period, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by his alma mater, the University of Sydney. He has led or served on numerous international committees on subjects relating to human rights, ethics, bioethics and health.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of the artist 2001

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Ralph Heimans AM (age 28 in 1998)

The Hon. Justice Michael Kirby AC CMG (age 59 in 1998)

Subject professions

Law and justice

Donated by

Ralph Heimans AM (15 portraits)

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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