Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Welcome to my blog.  I am a barrister who formerly worked for the Northern Territory Government.  I arrived in Darwin just before Cyclone Tracy in 1974, when my rented house was blown away completely.  Then I was employed by the Commonwealth, firstly in the Department of the Northern Territory and later in the Attorney-Generals' Department. 

I was the first member to actually work in the new Territory  Department of Law (later Department of Justice)  in 1977 before self-government was granted to the Territory in 1978.  I was the first Crown Solicitor of the Territory.  Later I became Senior Crown Counsel for the Territory.  I took early retirement in 1998 but have continued to work for the Territory on brief as a barrister.

I really enjoyed my work in the Territory.  It was exciting and interesting to be involved in constitutional development and in many other issues.  I still visit the Territory from time to time.
I discovered these original Royal Letters Patent 1863 in a search in Adelaide.  They provide for the annexation of the Territory to the Province of South Australia.  Previously it was a part of the Colony of New South Wales although not permanently settled by Europeans.  Later it became part of the new State of South Australia at federation in 1901.  In 1911 it was surrendered to the Commonwealth by South Australia by Agreement between the two governments ( confirmed by legislation in both jurisdictions) and became a Commonwealth territory.   I was never able to find the original Agreement.

On 1 July 1978 the Territory became self-governing by Act of the Commonwealth Parliament, even though it still had the status of a Commonwealth territory.  Subsequent litigation confirmed the validity of this grant.
This is the swearing in of the new Territory Government in 1978 by the then Administrator.
Since then, one attempt has been made to transform the self-governing Territory into a State of the federal Commonwealth.  This attempt failed at a Territory referendum in 1998.  The work is ongoing.

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