Judge, Supreme Court of New South Wales, 08/11/1965 - 21/01/1973
Judge of Appeal, Court of Appeal, 01/01/1966 - 21/01/1973
Lecturer in Constitutional Law, Sydney University 1941-1951
Member, Law Extension Committee, University of Sydney, 1964 - 1966
John Dashwood Holmes was born on 13 May 1907 at Darlinghurst, Sydney, the son of Greville Charles Dashwood Holmes and his wife Margaret nee Kelly. He was educated at Christian Brothers' College, Waverley, and at the University of Sydney (BA 1928, LLB 1932). He was awarded a Public Exhibition scholarship to the University based on his results in the Leaving Certificate examination of November 1924. While studying for his law degree he worked as a freelance radio and press journalist. In 1927 he was the Law School representative to the Sydney University Arts Society and a member of its Literary Staff. (1)
Holmes was admitted to the New South Walse Bar on 10 March 1933. He practised out of 142 Phillip Street, Sydney, and after 1958 at 180 Phillip Street. He had a wide ranging practice, chiefly in constitutional law, commercial law and equity. During World War II he appeared on behalf of the Crown before the Alien Advisory Committees and later the Alien Tribunal No.1 (New South Wales). These were established by the Commonwealth Government under the National Security Regulations to allow interned aliens to object to their internment. Made a King's Counsel for New South Wales in July 1948, he appeared before the High Court of Australia in constitutional cases and from 1953 to 1961 before the judicial committee of the Privy Council. He was also admitted to the Bars of Victoria and Queensland. (2)
Holmes had an interest in law education and professional development. He was Acting Lecturer in Constitutional Law at the University of Sydney from 1941 to 1948 and one of the two lecturers in Constitutional Law from 1949 to 1951. A Council member of the New South Wales Bar Association in 1960/61 and from 1963/64 to 1964/65, he was its president in 1964/65 and in 1965 vice-president of the Australian Bar Association. He was a member of the Law Extension Committee of the University of Sydney in 1964-1966. As well, he was on the organising committee of the Third Commonwealth and Empire Law Conference in 1965. (3)
Holmes was appointed a Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales on 8 November 1965 and a Judge of Appeal for the newly created Court of Appeal from 1 January 1966. He was the first member of the Court of Appeal to be appointed directly from the Bar. He was still in office when he died. (4)
His publications included 'The law of money-lending in New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria' (Sydney, 1942) and 'The prices regulation act, being the Prices Regulation Act, 1948 (New South Wales)' (Sydney, 1948). He was also editor of 'War legislation affecting property and war damage to property' by John Baalman and R Else-Mitchell (Sydney, 1942) and the ten volumes of 'War legislation and case law service' (Sydney, 1939-1946). Holmes also collected Australian publications, including material on the NSW Bookstall Company, and in the mid 1930s compiled an unpublished bibliography on Federation from 1841 to 1901. (5)
Holmes died at Crows Nest on 21 January 1973, survived by his second wife Margaret Eve Blaxland Robertson nee Levick, whom he married on 31 October 1946. His first marriage to Joan Symons nee Mackaness ended in divorce in June 1946. He had no children. (6)
1. Who's Who in Australia, Melbourne, The Herald, 1950, p.352; 1955, p.384; 1959, p.393; 1962, p.418; 1965, p.420; 1968, p.435; 1971, p.483; Australian Law Journal, Vol.47, p.106 (February 1973); John Kennedy McLaughlin, 'Holmes, John Dashwood (1907-1973)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition, http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A140544b.htm (cited 11 January 2008); University of Sydney Calendar, 1925, p.719; 1926, pp.515, 522, 526, 584, 719; 1927, pp.532-6, 729, 733, 893-4; 1928, pp.523, 550, 556, 649, 757; 1929, pp.557-8, 858; 1930, pp.576-7, 796; 1931, p.526; 1932, pp.525, 644; 1933, p.828, http://calendararchive.usyd.edu.au/index.php (cited 12 and 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.7; New South Wales Law Almanac, Sydney, NSW Government Printer, 1934, p.73; 1949, p.66; 1958, p.82; Australian Law Journal, Vol.39, p.252 (30 November 1965); 'National Archives of Australia - Agency notes for agency CA674', http://naa12.naa.gov.au/scripts/AgencyDetail.asp?M=3&B=CA+674 (cited 12 November 2008); 'National Archives of Australia - Series notes for Series A12102 [J D Holmes]', http://naa12.naa.gov.au/scripts/Series Detail.asp?M=3&B=A12012 (cited 12 November 2008); Who's Who in Australia, op.cit.; Australian Dictionary of Biography, op.cit..
3. University of Sydney Calendar, op.cit., 1941, pp.44, 405; 1942, pp.32, 42; 1948, pp.28, 307; 1949, pp.28, 323; 1950, pp.332, 335; 1951, pp.28, 339; 1966, p.33, (cited 27 May, 19 June, 10 August 2008); 'Bar Councillors 1960-1970', New South Wales Bar Association, http://www.nswbar.asn.au/docs/about/history/bclist1960_1970.php (cited 11 November 2008); Who's Who in Australia, op.cit.; Australian Dictionary of Biography, op.cit.
4. State Reports New South Wales, Vol.66 (1965-1966), Syd., Law Book Company Ltd, pp.v-vi; New South Wales Law Reports, 1973, Vol.1, Sydney, Law Book Company Ltd, 1973-74; Australian Law Journal, op.cit.
5. Libraries Australia, http://librariesaustralia.nla.gov.au/apps/kss (cited 11 November 2008); National Library of Australia catalogue, http://catalogue.nla.gov.au (cited 11 November 2008); Holmes collection, 1934-1937, manuscript, National Library of Australia catalogue, op.cit.
6. Australian Dictionary of Biography, op.cit.; Australian Law Journal, Vol.47, p.106 (February 1973); Who's Who in Australia, op.cit.