Francis Forbes facts for kids
Sir Francis Forbes
Sir Francis Forbes (1784 – 1841) was the first Chief Justice (judge) of New South Wales. Before he set up the court system in Australia, people were tried by legal tribunals. The town of Forbes, New South Wales was named after him.
Forbes was born in Bermuda in 1784. His grandfather, Dr. George Forbes had moved to the Bermudas after the Battle of Culloden. He went to London at the age of 19 to study law. He passed the exams and became a lawyer in 1812. He returned to Bermuda but went to back to England 3 years later. In 1816 he was made the first Chief Justice of Newfoundland. He lived in Canada until 1822. The government asked for his advice about setting up a proper legal system in Australia. He was asked to be the first Chief Justice of New South Wales in June 1823. Forbes was officially given the job in October 1823.
Forbes was Chief Justice from 13th October 1823 to 1st July 1837. He arrived in Sydney in March 1824. He lived with the Governor, Sir Thomas Brisbane, while his house was being got ready for him. Forbes and Brisbane became great friends. He officially opened the new Supreme Court on May 17, 1824. He was also a member of the Legislative Council and was made President in August 1824. In December he was made a member of the Executive Council as well. These two extra positions were political jobs and put him into conflict with his job as a judge. As Chief Justice he had to be sure that new laws were in agreement with the laws of England. This gave him the power to veto (stop) any new law in Australia. This was not a problem while Brisbane was the Governor, but Forbes soon had problems with the new Governor, Sir Ralph Darling.
The Francis Forbes Society  is a group set up to study Australian legal history.
Images for kids
This trowel was used by the first Chief Justice of NSW, Sir Francis Forbes, to lay the foundation stone of the non-denominational Sydney College on 26 January 1830. The stone was then '...allowed to lie alone like a solitary egg in a deserted nest for 18 months thereafter...' [Dow, 1974]. Sydney College closed in 1847, but was reconstituted as Sydney Grammar School in 1857. http://acmssearch.sl.nsw.gov.au/search/itemDetailPaged.cgi?itemID=446675
Francis Forbes Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.