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Sir Leslie Herron
, 1969

by Esme Bell

oil on masonite (frame: 61.5 cm x 57.0 cm, support: 55.8 cm x 47.5 cm)

Sir Leslie Herron CMG (1902-1973), chief justice of New South Wales, graduated in law from the University of Sydney in 1924. As a student at Sydney Grammar School he rowed and played rugby; from 1922 to 1925 he played first-grade rugby for Western Suburbs. Admitted to the bar in 1925, he took silk in late 1939. All through his career, in which he dealt with both civil and criminal cases, he was notable for common sense, plain speech and humane Christian principles. Chairman of the Law Reform Committee from 1961, he began acting as chief justice in early 1962, while HV ‘Doc’ Evatt was unwell; he was confirmed in the position in October that year. He retired in 1972. Otherwise, he was chairman of the New South Wales Rugby Union from 1933 to 1939 and its president from 1943 to 1956; he was president of the New South Wales Amateur Swimming Association from 1949 to 1964 and was president of the Australian Golf Club from 1944 to 1973.

This is one of two portraits Esme Bell painted of Sir Leslie Herron. The other, exhibited in the Archibald in 1969, is now in the collection of the Australian Golf Club.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Gift of Susan Crawford OAM 2016
Accession number: 2016.69