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By Chris Thomson | posted on September 6, 2018

WESTERN AUSTRALIA’S new chief justice has convict blood.

In a welcome speech for recently appointed Chief Justice Peter Quinlan on August 20, his Supreme Court colleague Justice Rene Le Miere recalled his new boss was a fifth–generation Western Australian.

“It seems that our new chief justice is the great, great grandson of a convict,” Justice Le Miere recounted.

“There’s certain irony in the fact that this state’s most senior judicial officer is related to a sheep stealer who was transported to Western Australia in 1853.

“From a convict ancestor to a chief justice, I’m sure [that] Daniel Connor, your great, great grandfather would be proud of you.”

At a special sitting of the Full Bench of the Supreme Court, Albany cracked a passing mention when Traditional Custodian Barry McGuire observed that Noongar people from around the south west of the continent, including Albany, on occasion used to gather nearby.

When his time to speak came, Chief Justice Quinlan, no stranger to prisons albeit from the more respectable side of the Securemax mesh, rose to supplement Justice Le Miere’s version of his pedigree.

“Justice Le Miere commenced his remarks with a reference to my convict ancestor Daniel Connor who arrived here eight years before the appointment of the first chief justice,” said Chief
Justice Quinlan, who in 2005 was counsel assisting on the inquiry into the management of offenders in custody that among other gaols probed the workings of Albany Prison.

“Connor died in 1898 and by that time he had become a successful business owner in the colony.

“His funeral was officiated by Bishop Matthew Gibney who concluded with the following words, which I ask you all to keep in mind in the coming years:

‘Be to his virtues ever kind,

And to his faults a trifle blind.’

Before Justice Le Miere adjourned proceedings, Chief Justice Quinlan, 48, thanked his Supreme Court colleagues – and other onlookers including his wife Lucette, five children and Attorney General John Quigley – for their attendance.