Selden lecture: Mr Justice Harding – a titan of Queensland law

The Honourable Mr Justice George Rogers Harding, n.d., Richard Godfrey Rivers.

The first of this year’s Selden Society lectures features John McKenna KC presenting on Mr Justice Harding.

George Rogers Harding (1838-1895) was the fifth judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland and is most widely known for three aspects of his life.

First, he is regarded as one of Queensland’s finest civil lawyers, whose rigorous analytical approach helped to establish the reputation of the Supreme Court.

Secondly, he is remembered for his remarkable fortitude. Overcoming great pain, he insisted upon completing a long civil jury trial, before eventually dying in his chambers. This noble end to a life of public service provided the inspiration for the first judicial portrait to be commissioned and installed in the Supreme Court.

Thirdly, he is known as one of Queensland’s most influential bibliophiles. As well as writing some of Queensland’s first legal texts, Harding was instrumental in developing a fine collection for the Supreme Court Library. After his death, his extensive personal library provided the foundation for what became the State Library of Queensland.

This Selden Society lecture will examine Harding’s personal and professional life and legacy, together with the developing legal community in which he lived and worked in the late 19th Century.


Registration is required for this free lecture, which will be held at 5.15 pm (for 5.30pm) on Thursday 23 March in the Banco Court at the Queen Elizabeth II Courts of Law, Brisbane.

It will also be livestreamed via Zoom (register) and be followed by refreshments in the Portrait Gallery.

More information.

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