Chief Justice, Supreme Court of New South Wales, 01/02/1934 - 04/11/1949
Judge in Admiralty, Court of Admiralty, 01/02/1934 - 04/11/1949
Administrator, State of New South Wales, 28/10/1937 - 01/11/1937
Lieutenant Governor, State of New South Wales, 17/10/1938 - 04/11/1949
Acting Governor, State of New South Wales, 06/06/1945 - 31/07/1946
Sir Frederick Richard Jordan was born on 13 October 1881 at London, the son of Frederick Jordan and Sarah nee Nobel. The family arrived in Sydney upon the 'Liguria' on 16 December 1886 and settled in Balmain. Sir Frederick attended Balmain Superior Public School (next to Gladstone Park, Balmain), Sydney Boys High School (matriculated 1897), and the University of Sydney (BA Honours 1904, LLB Honours 1907). (1)
A university education was beyond his family's means, so when he left school Jordan joined the New South Wales public service on 22 April 1898 as a junior clerk in the Master of Lunacy's Office. On 11 December 1900 he transferred to the Public Library of New South Wales as a clerk, shorthand writer and typist. In 1901 he enrolled in the University of Sydney as an evening student, completing his Bachelor of Arts degree in three years with Honours in French (Class I) and Latin (Class II). He finished his Law degree in March 1907 with Honours Class II. He continued to work as a civil servant, transferring on 1 January 1906 to the Intelligence Department as a clerk. On 5 June 1907 he became a sub-editor of publications and compiler in the Intelligence Department and Bureau of Statistics. (2)
Jordan was an award winning student. He shared the 1905 Wigram Allen Scholarship with ET Real, for general proficiency in Part I of the Intermediate Bachelor of Law examination. He also shared with ET Real the 1906 George and Matilda Harris Scholarship for general proficiency in Part II of the Intermediate LLB examination. (3)
Jordan was active in University organisations. He was one of the vice-presidents of the Sydney University Evening Students Association in 1905. He was one of the vice-presidents of the Sydney University Law Society from 1910/11 to 1917/18. (4)
Admitted to the New South Wales Bar on 19 August 1907, Jordan did not commence practice until 1909, after he resigned from the civil service. His office was in Selborne Chambers. He was described in 1949 as 'one of the leading Equity lawyers of his generation.' (5) His appointment as a King's Counsel was approved by the Executive Council on 14 March 1928. (6)
Jordan had an interest in legal education. He worked as an Examiner in Law at the University of Sydney from 1907-1908 till at least 1913-1914. For two terms in 1910 he was, along with JA Browne, Acting Challis Lecturer at the University in Equity, Probate, Bankruptcy and Company Law during the leave of absence of GE Rich. From 1911 to 1921 he was Challis Lecturer in Equity, Probate, Bankruptcy and Company Law, which included the topic of divorce. Reappointed in 1912, 1914, and 1917, he was on leave of absence during 1920 and resigned in 1921, even though his term still had three years to run. (7)
Jordan was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales on 1 February 1934. As such he also automatically became Judge in Admiralty. He was made a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George on 1 January 1936 for his work as Chief Justice. (8)
Sir Frederick was Administrator for the State of New South Wales on two occasions: the first for less than a week and the second for more than twelve months. As the Chief Justice, he was the Administrator from 28 October to 1 November 1937 during the absence from the State of both the Governor, Lord Wakehurst, and the Lieutenant Governor, Sir Phillip Whistler Street. Street returned on 1 November and administered the Government until 7 November when Wakehurst resumed his duties. Following Sir Philip's death, Sir Frederick was appointed Lieutenant Governor on 17 October 1938. He again administered the Government from 6 June 1945 to 31 July 1946. Lord Wakehurst was on leave prior to the end of his term on 8 January 1946 and Sir Frederick continued as administrator during the interregum until Lieutenant-General John Northcott took office. (9)
Sir Frederick was a diverse author. He was the editor of Weekly Notes (NSW) from the beginning of 1909 till at least 1911. Many of his publications centred around the needs of the University's Law School and included 'Probate Law and Practice' (Sydney, 1913); 'Company Law in New South Wales' (Sydney, 1915); 'Equity in New South Wales' (Sydney, 1916); 'Chapters on Equity in New South Wales' (Sydney, 1921); 'Administration of the Estates of Deceased Person' (Sydney, 2nd edition 1940); and 'The Admiralty Jurisdiction in New South Wales' (Sydney, 1937). 'Appreciations' (1950), published in his memory after his death, was the only work that reflected his love of literature. (10)
In 1949 Sir Frederick became seriously ill, underwent surgery on 31 August and was granted leave of absence from the Supreme Court on 8 September. He died on 4 November 1949 at Vaucluse, survived by his wife Bertha Maud nee Clay whom he married on 9 January 1928. (11)
1. Who's Who in Australia, Melbourne, The Herald and Weekly Times Ltd, 1935, p.262; 1938, p.280; 1941, p.379; 1944, p.473; 1947, p.473; Sydney Morning Herald, 5 November 1949, p.1; Australia Law Journal, Vol.23, pp.395-7 (21 November 1949); JM Bennett, 'The Honourable Sir Frederick Richard Jordan, K.C.M.G.', in Portraits of the Chief Justices of New South Wales 1824-1977, St. Ives, Sydney, John Ferguson Pty Ltd, 1977, pp.43-5; JM Bennett, 'Jordan, Sir Frederick Richard (1881-1949)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition, http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A090520b.htm (cited 11 January 2008); Shipping Master's Office; NRS13278, Passengers arriving 1855-1922 [X184, Liguria 16 December 1886] ; Reel 476; 'Judges', http://www.sydneyboyshigh.com/documents/SHSJudges0705.pdf (cited 4 August 2008); University of Sydney Calendar, 1904, p.305; 1905, p.389; 1907, pp.269, 367; 1908, p.430, http://calendararchive.usyd.edu.au/index.php (cited 7 and 12 May 2008).
2. Legislative Assembly New South Wales, Public Service List, Sydney, NSW Government Printer, 1898, p.6; 1899, p.6; 1904, p.160; 1906, p.59; 1907, p.44; 1908, p.90; University of Sydney Calendar, op.cit., 1901, p.295; 1902, pp.236-9, 307; 1903, pp.250-53, 324; 1904, pp.253-4, 322; 1905, pp.282, 353; 1906, pp.282, 359; 1907, p.300 cited 18 March and 12 May 2008.
3. University of Sydney Calendar, op.cit., 1905, p.220; 1906, p.222 cited 12 May 2008.
4. University of Sydney Calendar, op.cit., 1905, p.427; 1910, p.524; 1911, p.531; 1912, p.553; 1913, p.555; 1914, p.560; 1915, p.649; 1916, p.686; 1917, p.673 cited 18 March and 12 May 2008, 9 February 2009.
5. Barristers Admission Board; NRS 13665, Roll of Barristers, 15 June 1876 - 1 December 1926; Reel 2147, p.16; New South Wales Law Almanac, Sydney, NSW Government Printer, 1909, p.50; 1911, p.56; 1912, p.56; 1914, p.60; 1929, p.69; 1933, p.72; Sydney Morning Herald, 5 November 1949, p.1.
6. Attorney General's Department [III]; NRS 333, Letters received - Special Bundles, 1874-1984; [10/42917] Correspondence re appointment of King's Counsels, 1898-1941.
7. University of Sydney Calendar, op.cit., 1908, p.332; 1909, p.331; 1910, pp.364, 368; 1911, pp.366, 370, 494; 1912, pp.383, 388, 519; 1913, p.408; 1914, pp.404, 410; 1915, pp.446, 572; 1918, pp.474, 613; 1919, p.496; 1920, pp.520, 683; 1921, p.543; 1922, pp.331, 745; 1935, p.877 cited 18 March, 7, 12 and 27 May 2008, 9 February 2009.
8. State Reports New South Wales, Sydney, Law Book Company of Australasia Ltd, Vol.34 (1934); Vol.36 (1936); Vol.49 (1949); Australian Law Journal, Vol.7, p.355 (15 July 1933); It's an honour website http://www.itsanhonour.gov.au (cited 23 January 2008).
9. NSW Government Gazette No.159, 28 October 1937, pp.4345-6; No.164, 1 November 1937, pp.4439-40; No.57, 6 June 1945, p.991; New South Wales Law Almanac, op.cit., 1946, p.35; 1947, p.35.
10. University of Sydney Calendar, op.cit., 1911, p.519; 1915, p.625; 1916, p.651; 1917, p.641 (cited 18 March and 12 May 2008, 9 February 2009); Libraries Australia, http://librariesaustralia.nla.gov.au/apps/kss (cited 6 February 2009).
11. Sydney Morning Herald, 5 November 1949, p.1; NSW Government Gazette No.209, 5 November 1949, p.3333; Who's Who in Australia, op.cit.