Vale Dr JM Bennett, AO, who died on 17 July 2022.
Dr Bennett’s work on legal history and biography laid strong foundations for further legal history research on Australia. He taught law at the University of Sydney and the University of Technology Sydney and was a Senior Research Fellow in the ANU Research School of Social Sciences.
Along the way he wrote two major publications about the legal history of NSW – A History of the Supreme Court of NSW (1974) and A History of Solicitors in NSW (1984). These two books remain foundational books for anyone interested in the legal history of NSW.
He also wrote many judicial biographies of colonial judges in Australia including Sir James Martin: Premier 1863-1865, 1866-1868, 1870-1872 and Fourth Chief Justice 1883-1876 of New South Wales (2005); George Higinbotham: Third Chief Justice of Victoria 1886-1892 (2006); Sir Alfred Stephen: Third Chief Justice of New South Wales 1844-1873 (2009); Sir Queensland (2014); and (with RC Solomon), Sir Francis Villeneuve Smith: Premier 1857-1860, Supreme Court Judge 1860-1870, Chief Justice 1870-1885 of Tasmania (2019).
Many members of the Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society will remember and continue to use his work for a long time to come.
Professor Prue Vines,