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Sir Isaac IsaacsPrint Page Print this page

07-May-2014
07-May-2014

Photographs supplied by Graeme Saunders
A palm tree commemorates Sir Isaac Isaacs who was the first Australian born Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia and the first Federal Member of the electorate of Indi.
 

Sir Isaac Alfred Isaacs GCB,GCMG, PC, KC (1855 – 1948) was an Australian lawyer, politician, and judge who served as the ninth Governor-General of Australia, in office from 1931 to 1936. He had previously served on the High Court of Australia from 1906 to 1931, including as Chief Justice from 1930.

Isaacs was born in Melbourne and grew up in Yackandandah and Beechworth (in country Victoria). He began working as a schoolteacher at the age of 15, and later moved to Melbourne to work as a clerk and studied law part-time at the University of Melbourne. Isaacs was admitted to the bar in 1880, and soon became one of Melbourne's best-known barristers. He was elected to the Victorian legislative Assembly in 1892, and subsequently served as solicitor-general under James Patterson and attorney-general under George Turner and Alexander Peacock.

Isaacs entered the new federal parliament at the 1901 election, representing the Protectionist Party. He became Attorney-General of Australia in 1905, under Alfred Deakin, but the following year left politics in order to become an associate justice of the High Court. Isaacs was often in the minority in his early years on the court, particularly with regard to federalism, where he advocated the supremacy of the Commonwealth Government. The balance of the court eventually shifted, and he famously authored the majority opinion in the Engineers case of 1920, which abolished the reserved powers doctrine and fully established the paramountcy of Commonwealt law.

In 1930, Prime Minister James Scullin appointed Isaacs as Chief Justice, in succession to Sir Adrian Knox. Later that year, Scullin nominated Isaacs as his preferred choice for governor-general. The selection of an Australian (rather than the usual British aristocrat) was unprecedented and highly controversial. King George V was opposed to the idea but eventually consented, and Isaacs took office in January 1931 as the first Australian-born holder of the office as well as Australia's first Jewish governor-general.  

Location

Address:Isaacs Avenue, Isaacs Park, Yackandandah, 3749
State:VIC
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -36.310516
Long: 146.84425
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Tree
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Government - Federal
Link: http://adb.anu.edu.au/

Dedication

Front Inscription
THIS PALM TREE
Was planted by
The Menorah Jewish Community
of Albury-Wodonga and the
Australian Jewish Historical Society Inc.
With the help of the Indigo Shire Council
in memory of :
SIR ISAAC ISAACS Q.C.
G.C.B., G.C.M.B., K.C.M.G.,
1855 - 1948
on Tu-Beshvat 5759,
in recognition of his appointment as the
first Australian born Governor-General
during the years 1931 - 1936
and the first Federal Member for Indi.
Source: MA, ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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