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Sir Isaac Isaacs


Sir Isaac Alfred Isaacs was a renowned judge and politician of Australia. Sir Isaac Isaacs was also the ninth Governor-General of Australia and was the first Australian to acquire that post.

Sir Isaac Isaacs was born on 6 August, 1855 at Melbourne. He was the eldest of six children of Alfred Isaacs and his mother was Rebecca. In 1859, the entire family moved to Yackandandah in north-eastern Victoria. There Sir Isaac Isaacs attended a small private school and later attended the State school. Then in 1867, the family shifted to Beechworth, where he attended the Beechworth Grammar School of which he became the leader. He taught as a pupil-teacher at the Common School. Thereafter, Sir Isaac Isaacs secured a job of a clerk in the Prothonotary’s Office in the Crown Law department in Melbourne. He studied law at the University of Melbourne in 1876. Sir Isaac Isaacs continued his job at the Crown Law Office till 1882, after he which he decided to join the Bar. By 1890, he had gained a strong foothold for himself in the court in dealing with different matters of insurance, insolvency, mining, contract and a variety of other legal fields.

Sir Isaac Isaacs learnt a variety of languages like German, French, Italian, Greek and Russian at different stages of his life. Sir Isaac was very much involved with the Australian Natives’ Association.

On April 1892, Sir Isaac Isaacs was elected to the Legislative Assembly as a member from Bogong. He introduced several reforms for the poor people and in January 1983 he became the solicitor-general in the new Paterson ministry. Immediately after he assumed the post there was a huge controversy over a decision and finally on 25 May Sir Isaacs resigned from the post. Isaacs became the attorney-general in the Liberal government headed by Turner. He also acted as a premier at times in this ministry. Sir Isaac Isaacs strongly supported the Factories Act for social reforms, women’s voting power and opposed the system of plural voting. He had an excellent oratory power and could debate very cleverly in the parliament on several issues.

In March 1898, he was elected as a Victorian delegate to the Federal convention. Sir Isaac Isaacs was elected to the High Court of Australia on 12 October, 1906 and remained on this post for the next twenty-five years. He was one of the earliest judges who gave detailed descriptions and social implications of all his decisions. In November 1921, Sir Isaac Isaacs was sworn in the Privy Council and became a member of its judicial committee. He was appointed as K.C.M.G. in 1928 and in December 1930, he was appointed as the Governor-General. This appointment was met with a lot of opposition from important people, like the King himself. He retired from the post in January 1936.

In 1932, Sir Isaac Isaacs was appointed as G.C.M.G. and in 1937 he became G.C.B. He was also elected as an Associate Knight of Grace of St John of Jerusalem in 1931. Isaacs also wrote in details about various biblical and religious topics and spoke on different Jewish festivals.

Sir Isaac Isaacs passed away at the age of 92, on 11 February 1948 and was survived by his wife and daughters. A federal electorate, a chair of law at the Monash University and a Canberra suburb has been named after Sir Isaac Isaacs.

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