Judge Martin Chemnitz Kriewaldt Print Page Print this page

Photographs supplied by Stephen Warren

The Kriewaldt Chambers commemorate Judge Martin Chemnitz Kriewaldt (1900 - 1960).

Martin Chemnitz Kriewaldt was the sole Judge of the Northern Territory Supreme Court between 1951 and 1960. During his time on the bench he presided over 39 murder cases when most judges of the time would expect to hear no more than 10. This period saw many important, colourful and controversial characters appear before him, including Olive Pink, Ted Egan, Tiger Lyons and Albert Namatjira.

The Namatjira case was a particularly famous case in Australian legal history, which saw Namatjira receive a prison sentence for sharing rum with his cousin. This case became a test case for the assimilation policy and the prohibition on Aboriginal drinking. Namatjira and Kriewaldt were both Lutherans with strong connections to the Lutheran mission at Hermannsburg. They died within months of each other.

Namatijira’s death, not long after his sentence was imposed, was attributed to sorcery. It was suggested that Kriewaldt never came to terms with Namatjira’s fate. Kriewaldt died suddenly within 9 months of passing sentence on Namatjira. Kriewaldt was an important figure throughout the 1950s; he was highly regarded and respected by many Aboriginal people and white Australians, senior political figures and locals; one person has described him as a ‘fearless, fair and good judge’ who combined ‘justice with mercy’ in his approach to dealing with Aboriginal defendants.


Address:6 Searcy Street, Darwin, 0800
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -12.461238
Long: 130.841166
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
View Google Map


Monument Type:Structure
Monument Theme:People
Approx. Event Start Date:1951
Approx. Event End Date:1960


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Thursday 6th April, 1978
Front Inscription

Plaque :

This building is named in honour of Martin Chemnitz Kriewaldt who was the Judge of the Northern Territory of Australia from 1951 until his death in 1960.

The building was officially opened on 6th April 1978 by Mr R. J. Withnall Crown Law Officer in the Territory from 1954 to 1966.


Source: ACPH, MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
Proudly sponsored by UBC Web Design