Puisne Judge, Supreme Court of New South Wales, 05/04/1948 - 16/11/1953
Commissioner, Royal Commission into the conduct of Mr Frederick Joseph Cahill, MLA, concerning matters relating to the provision of transport facilities by the Department of Railways for the conveyance of magnesite for Non-Metallic Ltd, 02/03/1950 - 14/04/1950
Francis Aloysius Dwyer was born on 7 April 1902 at Goulburn, the son of William Eusebius Dwyer and his wife Margaret nee Hardiman. Two of William's brothers were Catholic priests, Patrick Vincent Dwyer, Bishop of Maitland (1909-1931) and Joseph Wilfred Dwyer, Bishop of Wagga Wagga (1918-1939). Francis was educated by the Sisters of Mercy, Goulburn, and at St Stanislaus' College, Bathurst, and the University of Sydney (BA 1924, LLB First Class Honours 1927). (1)
Dwyer was called to the New South Wales Bar on 26 August 1927. His offices were at Chancery Chambers, Phillip Street (1928-1931), 148 Phillip Street (1932-1938), 53 Martin Place (1939-1942) and 167 Phillip Street (1943-1947). He practised in all jurisdictions, but mainly in the Workers' Compensation Commission and in the Common Law. Many of his cases focused on the interpretation of legislation affecting workers' rights. His appointment as a King's Counsel was approved by the Executive Council on the 19 November 1941. (2)
Dwyer was appointed a Puisne Judge in the Supreme Court of New South Wales on 5 April 1948. He sat initially in the Divorce jurisdiction while the Judge in Divorce, Justice Reginald Schofield Bonney, was on leave of absence due to ill health. Mainly, however, he sat in the Common Law jurisdiction until his death. (3)
In 1950, Dwyer chaired the Royal Commission into the conduct of Mr Frederick Joseph Cahill, MLA, concerning matters relating to the provision of transport facilities by the Department of Railways for the conveyance of magnesite for Non-Metallic Ltd. The Commission was created by Letters Patent on 2 March 1950, extended on 21 March, and Dwyer reported on 14 April. Cahill was accused of accepting bribes to influence the Railway Department to get excessive transport facilities for Non-Metallic Ltd, and also of corrupting railway officials. Cahill was Non-Metallic Ltd's agent and representative, earning a shilling a ton on all magnesite produced on their lease. Although Cahill did help the company obtain spare plant and with transport problems such as petrol shortages and inadequate rail services to their lease at Thuddungra, Dwyer did not find the charges proved. Cahill had not used his Parliamentary position to apply pressure to the Railway Department, and the facilities provided were normal. (4)
Dwyer died on 16 November 1953 at his residence in Mosman, survived by his wife, Anne Josephine nee Glennon, whom he married in 1939, and his two sons and two daughters. (5)
1. Catholic Who's Who, 1952, London, Burns Oates and Washbourne Ltd, 1952, p.131; Who's Who in Australia, Melbourne, Herald and Weekly Times Ltd, 1944, p.315; 1947, p.305; 1950, p.232; Sydney Morning Herald 21 November 1941; WG McMinn, 'Dwyer, Patrick Vincent (1858-1931)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition, http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A080414b.htm (cited 18 May 2009); University of Sydney Calendar, 1921, pp.445, 619; 1922, pp.477, 479, 481-2, 652; 1923, pp.508-10, 512, 681, 685; 1924, pp.536, 544, 636, 721; 1925, pp.543, 728, 811; 1926, pp.544, 726; 1927, pp.549, 629, 650; 1928, p.849, http://calendararchive.usyd.edu.au/index.php (cited 12 May and 31 October 2008).
2. Barrister and Solicitors Admission Boards; NRS 13665, Roll of Barristers, 17 February 1927 - 10 June 1955; Reel 2147, p.1; New South Wales Almanac, Sydney, NSW Government Printer, 1928, p.67; 1931, p.69; 1932, p.69; 1939, p.74; 1942, p.69; 1943, p.69; 1947, p.65; Australian Law Journal, Vol.21, pp.471-2 (15 April 1948); Attorney General's Department [III]; NRS 333, Letters received - Special Bundles, 1874-1984; [10/42917] Correspondence re appointment of King's Counsels, 1898-1941, Letter FA Dwyer to the Attorney General, 7 August 1941.
3. State Reports New South Wales, Sydney, Law Book Company of Australasia Pty Ltd, Vol.48, (1948); Australian Law Journal, Vol.21, pp.471-2 (15 April 1948).
4. NRS 1576, Report of the Royal Commission of inquiry into the conduct of Mr Frederick Joseph Cahill, MLA, concerning matters relating to the provision of Transport Facilities by the Department of Railways for the conveyance of magnesite for Non- Metallic Ltd, pp. 1 – 27 [12/8773]; State Records Archives Investigator - Agency Detail 4915, http://investigator.records.nsw.gov.au/Entity.aspx?Path=\Agency\4915 (cited 18 May 2009); 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 University Library, 1975, pp.332-3.
5. State Reports New South Wales, op.cit., Vol.53 (1953), p.iii; SMH 17 November 1953, p.24; Catholic Who's Who, op.cit.