Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, 1/2/1907-27/7/1924.
Chief Judge in Equity, 1918-1924.
Acting Chief Justice of New South Wales, 28/7/1924-27/1/1925.
Chief Justice of New South Wales, 28/1/1925-31/1/1934.
Lieutenant-Governor of New South Wales, 1930-1937.
Sir Philip Whistler Street was born on 9 August 1863 in Sydney. He was the son of Susannah Caroline Lawson and John Rendell Street (merchant and pastoralist). He was educated at Waverly Hall and Sydney Grammar School. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from St Paul's College, University of Sydney in 1883. He subsequently completed divinity studies and read Law with Cecil Bedford Stephen. (1)
He was admitted to the Bar on 25 August 1886. He accepted an Acting Judicial appointment in 1906. He was sworn in as a Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales on 11 February 1907, and served in that capacity until July 1924. Street became a judge in bankruptcy and in probate, often sitting at common law and on circuit. As a Deputy President of the Court of Arbitration he heard many industrial disputation cases. (2)
In 1918 he was appointed Chief Judge in Equity, and also served on many Royal Commissions, including the case against the International Workers of the World (IWW) and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the administration of the Returned Soldiers' Settlement Branch of the Department of Lands in 1921. Street was sworn in as a Chief Justice in January 1925, succeeding Sir William Cullen. Sir Philip Street retired as Chief Justice on 31 January 1934. (3)
He was appointed K.C.M.G. in 1928. In 1930 he was commissioned as Lieutenant-Governor. He administered the State government on four occasions: from 24 May 1934 to 4 October 1938 (during the absence of Sir Philip Game on a visit to England); from 15 January 1935 to 20 February 1935 (during the interregnum following Sir Philip Game's departure); from 23 January 1936 to 5 August 1936 (during the interregnum following Lord Gowrie's departure); and, from 30 October 1936 to 7 April 1937 (during the interregnum following the death of Sir Murray Anderson). (4)
In 1930 Philip Street presided over the hearing of Trethowan vs Peden. As a result of this case the full bench ordered the Lang Government not to present any bills to abolish the Legislative Council. In 1930 Premier J.T. Lang had tried to abolish the Legislative Council. As an advisor to the Governor Sir Philip Game, Street was drawn into the subsequent constitutional crisis, which resulted in the dismissal of the Lang Government. (5)
Sir Philip had many public interests. He was a member of the Senate (1915-1934) and Deputy Chancellor (1926-1927) of the University of Sydney, and a trustee and chairman of the National Art Gallery of New South Wales (1923-1948). He was a member of the Union Club. He was president of the Institute of Public Administration, the St John's Ambulance Association, the Boy Scouts Association, and the Boys' Brigade. (6)
Philip Street married Belinda Maud Poolman on 1 February 1888. His eldest son Kenneth Whistler Street was born in 1890 and his grandson Laurence Whistler Street was born in 1926. He also held office as Chief Justice and Lieutenant-Governor of New South Wales. Sir Philip and Kenneth sat on the Bench at the same time in 1933 possibly the only time that father and son have simultaneoulsy served as judges of the Court. (7)
Sir Phillip Whistler Street died in Sydney on 11 September 1938. (8)
1. Australian Dictionary of Biography (ADB) Volume 12 Smy -Z 1891-1939, University of Melbourne Press, Carlton, 1966-2000, p.118; ADB online http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/street-sir-philip-whistler-8696 (accessed 2 February 2015); NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages Birth 1794/1863 and Death 13373/1938.
2. ADB, p.118.
3. ibid., p.118 and New South Wales Law Almanac for 1939. Sydney, Government Printer, 1939, p.27.
4. New South Wales Law Almanac for 1939, p.27; The NSW Law Almanac, 2000, LBC Information Services, Sydney, 2000, p.48.
5. ADB, p.119.
6. ibid., p.119.
7. ibid. p.119.
8. New South Wales Law Almanac for 1939, p.27; NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages: Death 13373/1938.