Douglas Diaries

  • Donor
    Mrs Barbara Douglas
  • Object date
    November 1st, 1908
  • Donation date
    May 31st, 2000

The Douglas Diaries

The Douglas diaries, donated by his daughter-in-law Mrs Barbara Douglas, are a series of diaries of Robert Johnstone Douglas. This Collection consists of fourteen items: five cash books, five diaries, two inventories of the family home, one stock record and one book of quotes.  The diaries date from 1907 to 1933. Douglas began writing in his diary when he moved to Townsville to begin practice at the Bar. He wrote in it each day and often referred to cases appearing in court and many members of the legal profession.  From meeting his future wife, to the purchase of their family home, Rosemount, and the birth of his children, the diaries provide a valuble picture of not only domestic life in Townsville, but also of legal and social life in the early part of the twentieth century.

Page from Douglas' Diary
First page from Douglas' diary, dated 27th and 28th June 1907, upon his arrival in chambers: 'Just settled in my chambers...arranged with a painter to put my name up outside the building and on my door...' View transcript.

Robert Johnstone Douglas

Robert DouglasRobert Johnstone Douglas was born on 13 April 1883 in Sandgate, Queensland. After commencing his education in Queensland, Douglas attended St Benedict’s College at Fort Augustus in Scotland (1892–95) and St Ignatius’ College at Riverview in Sydney (1896–1901). He then graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Sydney (1905), before commencing a period of private study for the examinations for admission to the Queensland bar. On 4 September 1906, Douglas was admitted as a barrister of the Supreme Court of Queensland. He served as associate to Justice Real of the Supreme Court of Queensland (1906), before moving to Townsville to commence practice at the bar (1907). Douglas also served, on the Townsville City Council 1907, 1921-1923. Between 1915 and 1917, Douglas held a series of acting judicial appointments – to the Industrial Court, the District Court and the Supreme Court. On 24 January 1923, Douglas was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court. For 30 years he served as the Northern Judge of the court, based at Townsville. He also served as a judge of the Court of Industrial Arbitration (1924–26). Douglas was president of the St Vincent de Paul Society and was appointed Knight Commander with Star of the Order of St Gregory the Great. He retired, at the statutory retirement age, on 12 April 1953. Douglas died on 24 December 1972.

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