Acting Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, 23/04/1900 - 15/06/1902
Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, 16/06/1902 - 31/07/1922.
Acting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, 17/04/1918 - 15/05/1918.
Commissioner, Royal Commission on the purchase by the Government of the Boorabil Estate and adjoining improvement leases, 19/07/1914 - 28/08/1914
Commissioner, Royal Commission of inquiry into allegations of corruption in connection with proposed State monopoly of petrol industry, 29/03/1916 - 16/05/1916
Commissioner, Royal Commission respecting the inquiry into the George Georgeson wheat contract, 1919, 18/07/1919 - 18/08/1919
Commissioner, Royal Commission of inquiry into the State Wheat Pool, 15/09/1919 - 09/12/1921
Commissioner, Royal Commission of inquiry into certain charges against Messrs. Dooley, Mutch, and Johnston, members of the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales, 21/11/1920 - 17/12/1920
President, King's School Old Boys Association, 1906 - 1921
Governor, King's School, Parramatta, 1915 - 1922
Robert Darlow Pring was born on 29 January 1853 at Mangoplah, near Wagga Wagga, the son of John Pring and Elizabeth Newnham nee Tooth. He was educated at Macquarie Fields (1866-67) and the King's School, Parramatta (1868-70) under the Reverend GF Macarthur, and at the University of Sydney (BA 1873, MA 1875). Pring read in the Chamber of Matthew Henry Stephens and was admitted to the New South Wales Bar on 15 December 1874. He developed an expertise in land law in New South Wales. (1)
During 1900 and 1901 Pring was an acting Judge of the Supreme Court on a number of occasions: at the Grafton Circuit Court in April 1900, April 1901 and October 1901 and at the Darlinghurst Court of Gaol Delivery in February 1901, April 1901, July 1901, September 1901 and November 1901. On 5 February 1902 he was made an acting Judge for six months starting from 10 February, to sit and act in every jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. Before this period was up, he was created a permanent puisne Judge from 16 June 1902. Pring was judge at the trial in 1916 of twelve members of the Industrial Workers of the World for conspiracy. He also presided over conspiracy hearings in connexion with the railway strike in 1917. (2)
Pring was sole commissioner for five Royal Commissions from 1914 to 1921. A common theme in all is the investigation of potentially corrupt activity by Government bodies and/or members of Parliament. In 1914 he chaired the Royal Commission on the purchase by the Government of the Boorabil Estate and adjoining improvement leases. In 1916 he chaired the Royal Commission into allegations of corruption in connection with the proposed State monopoly of petrol industry. In 1919-1921 he chaired three separate Royal Commissions into the administration of the State Wheat Office. The first was the Royal Commission respecting the inquiry into the George Georgeson wheat contract (18 July 1919-18 August 1919). The second was the Royal Commission of inquiry into the administration of the State Wheat Office (15 September 1919-9 December 1921). The third was the Royal Commission of inquiry into certain charges against Messrs. Dooley, Mutch, and Johnston, members of the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales (21 November-17 December 1920). (3)
Pring was Acting Chief Justice from 17 April 1918 until 15 May 1918 while Sir William Portus Cullen was on leave of absence. Pring retired on 31 July 1922.(4)
Pring had many public interests. He was Governor of the King's School (1915-1922), and President of the King's School Old Boys Association (1906-1921). He was church warden for Anglican Parish of Summer Hill for 23 years. He also prominently supported several charities such as the Queen Victoria Homes for Consumptives, and the Bush Brotherhood of the Good Shepherd. (5)
Pring married Mary-Jane King on 11 July 1882, and the couple had three sons and a daughter. He died of cancer at Leura on 14 August 1922. (6)
1. WG McMinn, 'Pring, Robert Darlow (1853-1922)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Vol.11, Carlton, University of Melbourne Press, 1988, pp.297-298; Fred Johns, Johns's Notable Australians and Who's Who in Australasia, 1906, p.142; 1908, p.256; 1914, p.168; 1922, p.224; Law Almanac for New South Wales 1895, Sydney, NSW Government Printer, 1895, p.38.
2. New South Wales Government Gazette, No.278, 29 March 1900, p.2505; No.112, 9 February 1901, p.1065; No.270, 27 March 1901, p.2666; No.614, 19 July 1901, p.5633, No.784, 20 September 1901, p.7249, No.975, 19 November 1901, p.8951; No.114, 7 February 1902, p.1018; No.388, 20 June 1902, p.4422; ADB, op.cit.
3. D H Borchardt, Checklist of Royal Commissions Select Committees of Parliament and Boards of Inquiry, Part IV New South Wales 1855-1960, Bundoora, La Trobe Library, 1975, pp.266, 271-2, 280-81, 288.
4. New South Wales Government Gazette, No.50, 26 April 1918, p.1926; the New South Wales Law Almanac for 1923, Sydney, Government Printer, 1922, pp.23, 25.
5. ADB, op.cit.