Donated by the Honourable BH McPherson CBE, this collection contains documents associated with the writing of his definitive history of the Queensland Supreme Court, The History of the Supreme Court of Queensland 1859-1960: History, Jurisdiction, Procedure. The collection, preserved in nine solander boxes, comes in two parts. The first includes handwritten and typed notes, while the second contains over 400 primary materials (cases, articles, correspondence and original notes) relating to the book. This is a comprehensive collection of resources relating to the history of the Queensland Supreme Court, and a very useful reference tool for Queensland legal historians.
On McPhersons' retirement in 2006, he donated a further collection of personal papers, which offers valuable insight into his life and career.
BH McPherson CBE
McPherson was born on 23 September 1936 at Melmoth, South Africa. In South Africa, McPherson attended Durban High School and the University of Natal, where he graduated Bachelor of Arts (1957). He then read law at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where he graduated Bachelor of Arts (1959) and Bachelor of Laws (1959). McPherson migrated to Queensland to take up a position as lecturer at the University of Queensland in 1960. For his thesis on the law governing the liquidation of registered limited liability companies in Australia, he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Queensland (1967). This thesis developed into McPherson’s first major work, The Law of Company Liquidation (1980).
On 17 April 1963, McPherson was admitted as a barrister of the Supreme Court of Queensland. He commenced practice in 1965, and took silk on 14 August 1975. While at the bar, McPherson served as a member of the Queensland Law Reform Commission (1969–82).
On 28 January 1982, McPherson was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland and was the Commercial Causes judge from 1983 to 1985. In 1988, he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. He became senior puisne judge of the court on 13 September 1990. On 16 December 1991, he became one of the inaugural judges of appeal. During his years on the court, McPherson also served as chairman of the Queensland Law Reform Commission (1982–91), chairman of the Supreme Court Library collection subcommittee (1981–2006), chairman of the trustees of the Peirson Memorial Home for Children (since 1988) and chairman of the Judicial Conference of Australia (1998–2000). He also wrote The Supreme Court of Queensland 1859-1960: History, Jurisdiction, Procedure (1989) and was appointed international vice-president of the Selden Society (2004).
Mcpherson retired from the court, at the age of 70, on 23 September 2006. In 2007, a festschrift, Justice according to Law, was published in his honour by the Supreme Court of Queensland Library, edited by Aladin Rahemtula OAM. The Supreme Court of Queensland Library has since published The Reception of English Law Abroad (2007). Since his retirement, McPherson served on the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (from 2007) and, in 2012, was appointed one of its deputy presidents. McPherson passed away in 2013. The Honourable Justice Dowsett AM QC gave a eulogy at his funeral on 11 October 2013. A valedictory ceremony in honour of McPherson was held in the Banco Court on 16 December 2013. The Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, Chief Justice of Queensland, gave an address, as did the President of the Bar Association of Queensland, Mr Peter Davis QC.