Acting Judge, District Court of New South Wales, Metropolitan District, 04/12/1935 - 24/12/1935, 03/02/1936 - 28/02/1936, 14/04/1936 - 31/12/1936, 02/02/1937 - 28/02/1937, 03/08/1937 - 31/08/1937
Acting Chairman, Court of Quarter Sessions New South Wales, Metropolitan District, 04/12/1935 - 24/12/1935, 03/02/1936 - 28/02/1936, 14/04/1936 - 31/12/1936, 02/02/1937 - 28/02/1937, 03/08/1937 - 31/08/1937
Acting Judge, Matrimonial Causes Jurisdiction, Supreme Court of New South Wales, 18/11/1937 - 31/12/1937, 17/01/1938 - 05/09/1938
Judge, Northern District, District Court of New South Wales, 06/09/1938 - 21/05/1939
Chairman, Northern District, Court of Quarter Sessions, 06/09/1938 - 21/05/1939
Acting Member, Industrial Commission of New South Wales, 24/10/1938 - 23/12/1938
Member, Industrial Commission of New South Wales, 22/05/1939 - 27/11/1940
Puisne Judge, Supreme Court of New South Wales, 28/11/1940 - 02/07/1952
Judge in Divorce, Supreme Court of New South Wales, 13/11/1950 - 02/07/1952
Henry George Edwards was born on 1 November 1886 at Stanmore, Sydney, New South Wales, the son of Henry Edwards and his wife Zipporah nee Cox. His father was Chief Clerk in the Master in Lunacy's office for New South Wales from 1885 to 1913. Henry was educated at Faulconbridge Grammar School, Sydney Boys High School, and the University of Sydney (BA 1908, DipMilSc 1909, LLB Honours Class II 1911). (1)
Edwards was an award winning student. He entered the Faculty of Arts at the University of Sydney in 1904 as an un-matriculated evening student. In March 1905 he passed the University's matriculation exam and began his arts degree, finishing Third Year Arts in 1907 along with Section I of the Intermediate LLB examination and the two subjects in the Diploma of Military Science. He completed his Diploma in 1909 and his Bachelor of Laws in March 1911. In 1907 he was awarded the Nathan Prize for Imperial History and Geography (Senior Grade). The prize was open to members of the University's militia regiment, the Sydney University Scouts. In 1908 he shared the Wigram Allen Scholarship with HL Lamond for general proficiency in Part I of the Intermediate LLB examination based on his results in the March 1908 examination. In 1909 he shared with RL Lawrence the George and Matilda Harris Scholarship for general proficiency in Part II of the Intermediate LLB examination based on his results in the March 1909 examination. (2)
He was also active in student organisations, even after he graduated. These included the Sydney Young Men's Christian Association (chairman of Membership Committee 1906); the Sydney University Undergraduates' Association (committee member 1908 to 1910); the Sydney University Law Society (one of the honorary secretaries 1909/10 to 1913, one of the vice-presidents 1913/14 to 1914/15) and the Sydney University Union. He was one of the honorary secretaries of the Union from 1909 to 1910, a committee member in 1911, president of the Union in 1911/12 and a member of the Debate Committee in 1913. (3)
On 27 April 1911 Edwards joined the New South Wales public service. On 21 August 1911 he was appointed Associate and Clerk of Arraigns to Justice George Rich, a Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. Following Justice Rich's elevation to the High Court of Australia, Edwards was appointed Associate and Clerk of Arraigns to Justice John Harvey on 15 April 1913. After leaving the public service, he was junior legal counsel for FS Boyce. (4)
Edwards was admitted to the New South Wales Bar on 2 November 1911. He practised primarily in the common law, divorce and arbitration. His office was in Phillip Street (1913), Wentworth Court (1914-1923), and Chancery Chambers (1924-1938). He was the author of Digest of Vols 22 to 33 (1915-24) of the Commonwealth Law Reports (1925). (5)
According to HTE Holt, during World War I Edwards served as a Captain in the Intelligence Corps and staff officer to the Colonel in Command of that Corps, Professor James Thomas Wilson, known as 'Jummy'. Edward's main work was censoring press and other telegrams and deciding what the newspapers should be allowed to print. It may be that this was a militia position in New South Wales. (6)
Edwards had a long judicial career, involving the District Court and Court of Quarter Sessions, the Industrial Commission, and the Supreme Court. From 1935 to 1937 he held thirteen commissions as an Acting District Court Judge and Chairman of the Court of Quarter Sessions for the Metropolitan District. These covered the period 4 to 24 December 1935, 3 to 28 February 1936, 14 April to 31 December 1936, 2 to 28 February 1937 and 3 to 31 August 1937. (7) From 1937 to 1938 he held three commissions as an Acting Judge in the Matrimonial Causes Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, from 18 November to 31 December 1937 and from 17 January to 5 September 1938. On 6 September 1938 he was appointed a Judge of the District Court and Chairman of Quarter Sessions for the Northern District. (8) He was an Acting Member of the Industrial Commission of New South Wales from 24 October to 23 December 1938. Presumably he took leave of absence from the District Court during this period. On 22 May 1939 he was appointed a member of the Industrial Commission, a position he held until 27 November 1940. From 28 November 1940 he was a Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. (9) Holt notes that the Bar Association disapproved of Edward's rise from the Industrial Commission to the Supreme Court 'because it was then thought improper to appoint a Judge of the Industrial Commission to the Supreme Court'. (10) He was appointed Judge in Divorce from 13 November 1950. (11)
Edwards took leave of absence from the Supreme Court in April 1952 due to ill health. He died suddenly on 2 July 1952 at his home in Roseville, Sydney. He was survived by his wife, Stella Sidwell Carthew nee Bennett, whom he married on 11 July 1914, and one son and a daughter. His other son was killed in action while serving with the RAAF in Burma in 1943. (12)
1. Who's Who in Australia, Melbourne, The Herald and Weekly Times Ltd, 1941, p.248; 1944, p.321; 1947, p.311; 1950, p.237; HTE Holt, 'Henry George Edwards' pp.214-216 in A Court Rises: the lives and times of the Judges of the District Court on New South Wales (1859-1959), North Sydney, Law Foundation of New South Wales, 1976; Australian Law Journal, Vol.26, p.173 (17 July 1952); Legislative Assembly New South Wales, Public Service List 1913 [as at 30 June], Sydney, NSW Government Printer, 1914, p.21.
2. University of Sydney Calendar, 1904, p.322; 1905, pp.263, 267, 269, 272, 349; 1906, pp.264-7, 269, 355; 1907, pp.289-292, 380, 383-4; 1908, pp.233, 258, 295, 297, 299, 302, 363, 389; 1909, pp.235-6, 297-300; 392-3, 434; 1910, pp.335, 427, 433; 1911, p.301, 416; 1912, pp.349, 513 http://calendararchive.usyd.edu.au/index.php (cited 18 March, 7 and 12 May 2008).
3. University of Sydney Calendar, op.cit., 1906, p.427; 1908, pp.453, 462; 1909, pp.459, 465, 470, 472; 1910, p.515, 520, 524-5; 1911, pp.528, 531, 533; 1912, pp.553, 555; 1913, pp.545, 555; 1914, p.560; 1915, p.649.
4. Public Service List, op.cit., 1912 [as at 30 June], p.48; 1913 [as at 30 June], p.53; New South Wales Law Almanac for 1913, Sydney, NSW Government Printer, 1913, p.36; HTE Holt, op.cit., p.214.
5. Barristers Admission Board; NRS 13665, Roll of Barristers, 1876-1926; Reel 2147, p.18; New South Wales Law Almanac, op.cit., 1913, p.59; 1914, p.58; 1916, p.58; 1918, p.60; 1924, p.63.
6. HTE Holt, op.cit., pp.214-5; Patricia Morison, 'Wilson, James Thomas (1861-1945)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition, http://www.adb.online.edu.au/biogs/A120591b.htm (cited 12 February 2009).
7. NSW Government Gazette No.205, 6 December 1935, p.4465; No.27, 31 January 1936, p.548; No.62, 9 April 1936, p.1560; No.83, 15 May 1936, p.2003; No.91, 29 May 1936, p.2097; No.106, 26 June 1936, p.2697; No.122, 31 July 1936, p.3262; No.133, 21 August 1936, p.3478; No.150, 25 September 1936, p.4057; No.166, 23 October 1936, p.4408; No.193, 27 November 1936, p.4877; No.13, 29 January 1937, p.488; No.113, 6 August 1937, p.3222.
8. State Reports NSW, Sydney, Law Book Company of Australasia, Vol.37 (1937); Vol.38 (1938); NSW Government Gazette No.172, 19 November 1937, p.4591; No.5, 14 January 1938, p.86; No.123, 19 August 1938, p.3312.
9. HTE Holt, op.cit., p.215; NSW Law Almanac for 1965, op.cit., 1965, p.56; NSW Government Gazette No.165, 29 November 1940, p.4695.
10. HTE Holt, op.cit., p.215.
11. State Reports NSW, op.cit., Vol.59 (1950); Australian Law Journal, Vol.24, p.287 (16 November 1950).
12. HTE Holt, op.cit., p.216; Australian Law Journal, Vol.26, p.173 (17 July 1952).