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George Higinbotham
George Higinbotham

Photographs supplied by Kent Watson

A bronze statue commemorates the Chief Justice of Victoria from 1886 to 1892, George Higinbotham.

George Higinbotham (19 April 1826 – 31 December 1892) was a politician and a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria, which is the highest ranking court in the State of Victoria. 

On 1 December 1853 Higinbotham left Liverpool for Australia on the Briseis and arrived at Melbourne on 10 March 1854, where he contributed to the Melbourne Herald and practised at the bar with much success. In 1857 he became editor of the Melbourne Argus, but resigned in 1859 and returned to the bar. He was elected to the Victorian Legislative Assembly in May 1861 for Brighton as an independent Liberal, was rejected at the general election of July the same year, but was returned nine months later. In June 1863, Higinbotham became attorney-general in the Sir James McCulloch government. In 1880 Higinbotham was appointed a puisne judge of the Supreme Court, and in 1886, on the retirement of Sir William Stawell,  he was promoted to the office of chief justice. 

A statue, the work of Paul Montford, is being erected near the Old Treasury Buildings, in honor of George Higinbotham, scholar, jurist, journalist, democrat, and pioneer of Emerald Hill. George Higinbotham was born in Dublin in 1827. He practised at the English Bar, and came to Victoria in 1854. He practised his profession in Melbourne for several years, and was appointed editor of "The Argus" in 1856. For some years George Higinbotham lived in Emerald Hill, in Charles Street, behind the present site of Maples. He was in close touch with all local affairs, and one of the early members of the Separation Committee, that eventually succeeded in having Emerald Hill severed from Melbourne. George Higinbotham was a trustee of the Mechanics' Institute and St. Luke's Church; and a member of "The Visiting Committee" of St. Luke's, which gave rise to the Emerald Hill Benevolent Society, which later became the Ladies' Benevolent Society. He spent a useful and interesting term in Parliament; and was finally defeated by Thomas Bent. He rose to the Bench, and became Chief Justice and Lieutenant-Governor. His life was crowded with useful work, but the most interesting was his advocacy of the case for the under-dog. He was severely criticised for subscribing to the funds of the strikers in the maritime strike in the early 'nineties; but throughout he was always respected, and was universally known as "Honest George" — a title well earned. 
Record (Emerald Hill), 25 September 1937.

Location

Address:Macarthur & Spring Streets, outside Treasury Buildings, East Melbourne, 3002
State:VIC
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.812886
Long: 144.97425
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Legal
Approx. Event Start Date:1886
Approx. Event End Date:1892
Monument Designer:Paul Montford

Dedication

Actual Monument Dedication Date:Friday 12th November, 1937
Front Inscription

Hon. George Higinbotham

Chief Justice of Victoria

1886 - 1892

 

Source: MA,VMR, ADB
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