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Richard O'Connor

also known as Richard Edward O'Connor

judge , politician

an Australian politician and judge.


O'CONNOR, Richard Edward was born on August 4, 1851 in Sydney. Son of late Richard O’Connor.


An enthusiastic debater, he was a regular participant at the Sydney School of Arts Debating Club, encountering future political foes and personal friends William McMillan and George Reid.[


A barrister and later Queen's Counsel, O'Connor was active in the campaign for Australian Federation and was a close associate of Edmund Barton. He served as New South Wales Minister for Justice from 1891 to 1893 while a member of the New South Wales Legislative Council (1888–98), and was a member of the constitutional committee at the Federal Convention that drafted the Australian Constitution. A member of the first federal ministry as Vice-President of the Executive Council, O'Connor led the government in the Senate from 1901 to 1903, playing a key role in the development of that chamber's role in Australian politics.

O'Connor resigned from Parliament in 1903 to become one of the inaugural justices of the High Court of Australia, which he had helped to create. He had a reputation as a liberal and independent-minded justice who occasionally voted with the progressives on industrial matters after 1906. He was also the first president of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration from 1905 to 1907, and he continued to serve on the High Court until his early death in 1912.


  • Other Interests

    Politics, Literature


Spouse 1879, Sarah, y. d, of late J. S. Hensleigh of Bendock, Victoria.

Richard O’Connor

Sarah Jane Hensleigh - Australian