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Heritage Guide to The Geelong College






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BEACH, Hon Justice Barry Watson AM (1931-)

BEACH, Hon Justice Barry Watson AM (1931-)


Hon Justice Barry Beach, Victorian Supreme Court Judge, first attended Newtown State School before continuing his education at the Geelong College as a day student from 15 February 1940 to December 1947. In 1946, he coxed the fourth rowing VIII and in 1947 gained a Merit Award in the Royal Life Saving Examinations.

In an Ad Astra account he considered that one of his greatest achievements at school was 'to be a member of the Cadet Corps for a period of five years and not rise above the rank of cadet. It was said by his company commander, (Lieutenant George Logie-Smith) that he lacked ambition. That, of course, was not the case because he did take part in the 1942 production of the 'Mikado' as a member of the female chorus and for many years was a member of the second violins in the school orchestra'.

Bookplate from 1940 Award Book.

Bookplate from 1940 Award Book.

Hon Justice Barry Beach

Hon Justice Barry Beach

Hon Justice Barry Beach, 1997

Hon Justice Barry Beach, 1997


He matriculated in 1947 and in 1948 entered into Articles with a Geelong solicitor, The Honourable Allan McDonald MLC. (an Old Collegian and the father of Mr Justice Allan McDonald). He was admitted to the bar in 1953 and, on 18 November 1968, was appointed one of Her Majesty's Counsels for the State of Victoria, and on 19 February 1975, one of Her Majesty's Counsels for the Australian Capital Territory.

In 1975, the State Government appointed him Chairman of the Board of Inquiry into complaints against members of the Victoria Police Force, and on 18 July 1975 he was appointed to the bench of the Supreme Court of the State of Victoria. During his practice at the Bar he appeared before a number of Royal Commissions and Boards of Inquiry, including the Royal Commission into the Westgate Bridge disaster and the Boards of Inquiry into the Winton air disaster and the 'Atlas' dredge disaster. Notable for his year-long enquiry into police corruption he was also involved in several controversial decisions including that of ordering the closure of picket lines during the industrial dispute between the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and Patrick Stevedores.

From 1985 to 1989 he was a member of the College Council. Justice Beach was also Chairman of Council for Law Reporting, Victoria. He retired in 2003 and in January 2008 was awarded the Medal of Australia (AM) for service to the judiciary and to the law, particularly in the areas of compulsory mediation in case management, to the development and improvement of legal practice in Victoria, and through professional organisations.

In 2011, Hon Justice Beach was inducted into the Old Geelong Collegians' Association (OGCA) Notables Gallery.


Sources: Ad Astra April 1992 p16. The Age (Melb) 15 February 2003.
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