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Supreme court: First among lawyers

Supreme court: First among lawyers

By Carolyn Ford


As part of the Supreme Court's 175th anniversary celebrations this month, Victoria's first solicitor will be honoured. Mystery surrounds the 1837 arrival of Victoria’s first solicitor William Meek, son of a Bermondsey leather processor. It’s unclear why the young lawyer left his practice in Darlington, England, but in 1836 he was prompted to pack his trunks and set sail for Port Phillip colony, leaving his wife of four years and two young sons behind, only sending for them years later. Legal historian Dr Simon Smith has led the research on Victoria’s first legal practitioner. “Something happens in 1836, some sort of social indiscretion,” Dr Smith said. “Whether he feels in danger, we don’t know, but something awful has happened. It wasn’t a marital indiscretion as his written words about wife Mary are very affectionate. And we know he wasn’t struck off, so goodness knows what it was.”

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