Acting Judge, Supreme Court of New South Wales, 13/09/1955 - 04/12/1955
Puisne Judge, Supreme Court of New South Wales, 05/12/1955 - 27/02/1979
Chairman, Electoral Districts Commission, 1957
Member, Archives Authority of New South Wales, 01/06/1961 - 31/05/1973
Chairman, Crown Employees Appeal Board, 31/08/1964 - 28/02/1965
Commissioner, Royal Commission on Petroleum, 12/09/1973 - 01/11/1976
Wilfred Herbert Augustine Collins was born on 27 February 1909 at Sydney, the son on Archer Edgar Collins and his wife Ursula Jessie Wenck. He was educated at St Stanislaus College, Bathurst; the Christian Brothers' Waverley College, Sydney; and the University of Sydney (LLB 1932). He was awarded a Public Exhibition scholarship to the University based on his results in the Leaving Certificate examination of November 1926. (1)
Admitted to the New South Wales Bar on 25 May 1932, he practised out of 170 Phillip Street, Sydney, from 1937 at 147A Phillip Street and from 1939 at 142 Phillip Street. He specialised in common law and in compensation. He was a Council member of the New South Wales Bar Association from 1950/51 to 1954/55. (2)
During World War II, Collins enlisted in the Australian Army on 30 October 1942. When he was discharged on 21 June 1944 he was a Captain with the Australian Army Legal Department. (3)
Before 13 September 1955, Collins was made an Acting Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. On 5 December 1955 he was made a Puisne Judge. When he retired on 27 February 1979 upon reaching the mandatory retiring age of 70, he had specialised in the common law and in criminal trials and was described as one of the most experienced trial judges in New South Wales. (4)
Collins held a number of other positions. He was Chairman of the Electoral Districts Commission in 1957. He was a member of the Archives Authority of New South Wales from its inception on 1 June 1961 to 31 May 1973. He was Chairman of the New South Wales Crown Employees Appeal Board from 31 August 1964 to 28 February 1965. He was the Commissioner for the Commonwealth's Royal Commission on petroleum. The inquiry was established under Letters Patent issued on 12 September 1973 to examine all aspects of petroleum production and refinery operations, including capacity, technology, shortages, price structure and discounting, and foreign influences on Australia's crude oil price. It also looked at alternative fuels. The Commission presented six reports, with the last report on liquefied petroleum gas presented on 1 November 1976. It had intended to produce two further reports, on natural gas and trading price, but these were not completed due to government cost cutting. (5)
Collins died on 30 March 1991 at Byron Bay, survived by his two sons and three daughters. His wife Margaret Agnes nee Simpson, whom he married on 21 December 1937, predeceased him. (6)
1. Who's Who in Australia, Melbourne, The Herald, 1959, p.189; 1962, p.192; 1965, p.194; 1968, p.198; 1971, p.217; 1974, p.235; 1977, p.244; 1980, p.207; NSW birth certificate 482/1927; University of Sydney Calendar, 1927, pp.520, 732; 1928, pp.556, 756; 1929, pp.557-8, 764; 1930, pp.577, 796; 1931, p.526; 1932, p.525; 1933, p.648, 828, http://calendararchive.usyd.edu.au/index.php (cited 12 May, 27 May, 11 November 2008).
2. Barrister and Solicitors Admission Boards; NRS 13665, Roll of Barristers, 17 February 1927 - 10 June 1955; Reel 2147, p.5; New South Wales Law Almanac, Sydney, NSW Government Printer, 1933, p.70; 1937, p.73; 1938, p.73; 1939, p.73; 1951, p.57; 1952, p.57; 1953, p.61; 1954, p.65; 1955, p.67; Australian Law Journal, Vol.29, p.293 (15 September 1955).
3. 'Collins, Wilfred Herbert', Department of Veterans Affairs World War 2 Nominal Roll http://www.ww2roll.gov.au/script/veteran.asp?ServiceID=A&VeteranID=707113 (cited 16 June 2008); Who's Who in Australia, op.cit..
4. State Reports New South Wales, Sydney, Law Book Company Ltd, Vol.55 (1955), p.ii; New South Wales Law Reports, Sydney, Law Book Company Ltd, 1979, Vol.1, p.viii; NRS 5791, Notebooks: Causes [Justice W H Collins]; [19/12071] 13/09/1955-01/11/1955; Australian Law Journal, Vol.29, p.293 (15 September 1955); Vol.29, p.646 (22 March 1956); Vol.53, p.679 (September 1976).
5. ibid; Who's Who in Australia, op.cit.; Report of the Archives Authority of New South Wales, 1973, p.12; New South Wales Law Almanac, op.cit., 1965, p.67; 1966, p.59; D H Borchardt, Checklist of Royal Commissions Select Committees of Parliament and Boards of Inquiry, Commonwealth, New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria, 1960-1980 and South Australia, 1970-1980, Bundoora, Borchardt Library, La Trobe University, 1986, pp.102-104; 'National Archives of Australia - Agency notes for agency CA 2031', http://naa12.naa.gov.au/scripts/ItemDetail.asp?M=3&B=CA+2031 (cited 10 November 2008).
6. Sydney Morning Herald, 1 April 1991, p.19; Who's Who in Australia, op.cit..