Portraits of Chief Justices and the first bench

  • Court 2
  • William Beckwith (WB) McINNES
  • (1889–1939)
  • Frank Gavan Duffy
  • 1935
  • oil on canvas
  • High Court of Australia Historic Memorials Collection

The Rt Hon Sir Frank Gavan Duffy (1852–1936) was a Justice of the High Court from 11 February 1913 to 21 January 1931, and Chief Justice 22 January 1931 to 1 October 1935. He had been appointed at the advanced age of 61 years. He was born in Dublin, Ireland on 29 February 1852, migrated to Australia in 1856, but returned to Great Britain for his secondary education in Lancashire. He studied arts and law at the University of Melbourne in and graduated with a Master of Arts and Bachelor of Laws degrees. He was admitted to the Victorian Bar in 1874 and appointed King's Counsel (KC) in 1901. Gavan Duffy founded and edited the Australian Law Times (1879-83), was awarded a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) in 1929, and was appointed to the Privy Council in 1932.

Former Chief Justices (further information)

About the artist

  • William Beckwith (WB) McInnes studied at the Melbourne National Gallery School under Frederick McCubbin and Bernard Hall. He travelled, studied and painted for some years in Europe from 1912 and then returned to Melbourne where he taught at the National Gallery School. In the 1930s he did a stint as acting Director of the National Gallery of Victoria and when Bernard Hall died in 1934 he became head of the Gallery school. Between 1921 and 1936 McInnes won the Archibald Prize seven times. In 1927 he was commissioned by the Australian Government to depict the first opening of Parliament in Canberra by the Duke of York.