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Alan Goldberg
, 2014

by Jacqueline Mitelman

inkjet print (sheet: 40.1 cm x 56.2 cm, image: 29.3 cm x 40.0 cm)

Alan Goldberg AO QC (b. 1940), retired judge, was born into a pioneering Jewish Melbourne family and graduated from the University of Melbourne law school in the early 1960s. In the heyday of the American civil rights movement, in 1963, he took up a scholarship at Yale; his time in the USA kindled his subsequent lifelong interest in social justice. In 1965 he went to the bar.

Having taken silk in 1978 he set up chambers with Ron Merkel, Ron Castan, Ray Finkelstein and others in Queen Street; amongst his well-known clients in the 1980s were Robert Holmes a Court, battling to take over BHP; the Victorian branch of the Liberal Party, challenging the 1985 election result for the upper house seat of Nunawading; and Dollar Sweets against the Federated Confectioners’ Association. From 1983 to 1985 he was president of the Melbourne Hebrew Congregation in South Yarra; he is credited with averting its financial ruin. He was president of The Victorian Council for Civil Liberties (now Liberty Victoria) from 1992 to 1994.

In early 1997 he was appointed a judge of the Federal Court; he sat on the bench for more than thirteen years. From 2003 to 2008 he was president of the Australian Competition Tribunal. Intensely involved in the arts, music and Jewish cultural life, he has served as the Deputy Chairman of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and is on the board of TarraWarra Museum of Modern Art. In 2015 he received an honorary doctorate from Swinburne. The Alan Goldberg Scholarship was established in 2015, to assist outstanding Melbourne law doctoral students in serious financial need.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Purchased with funds provided by Wayne Williams 2015
Accession number: 2015.126