Hearsay ... the Journal of the Bar Association of Queensland
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Issue 32
Featured Chambers Print E-mail

T.J. Ryan Chambers was established in 1985 and is located on level 13 in 239 George Street (the building formerly known as the MLC Building). Its founding members were Gerald (Tony) Fitzgerald QC, Robert Wensley, Robert Bain and Anthony Morris. The group was re-named in 2004 in honour of Thomas Joseph Ryan QC (1876-1921), who worked as a barrister and member of Parliament before becoming Attorney-General and Premier of Queensland from 1915 to 1919, being the first Labor premier to have a majority in the lower house.

Remarkably, T.J. Ryan QC continued his practice as a barrister, appearing not only for the State of Queensland (as Attorney-General), but also in respect of private briefs, even whilst he was Premier and Attorney-General. As a barrister he had an extraordinarily busy High Court practice. As the only Labor party leader in Government anywhere in Australia, Ryan was instrumental in leading the fight against conscription in the referendum launched by Billy Hughes in 1917. He resigned as Premier when asked by a resolution of an ALP special federal conference to enter federal politics (the only occasion that such a motion has been passed) and entered the House of Representatives as Member for West Sydney. He was touted as a likely Federal Labor Leader before his premature death aged 56. Today, a statue of Ryan - in his silk's wig and gown - is erected in Queen's Park, between the Treasury Casino and the Conrad Hotel. The metal plaque on the statue's pedestal describes him as: “Scholar - Jurist - Statesman”.

The current members of T.J. Ryan Chambers are Ken Fleming QC, Anthony Morris QC, Robert Wensley QC, Anthony Barlow, Christian Jennings and T.P. O’Brien. Collectively, members practise in all fields of commercial litigation.

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