Chief Justice launches National Archives display

Media release: Tuesday, 7 July 2009

The Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, Robert French, will launch No Common Creation, a display about the court's history, at the National Archives of Australia on Wednesday 8 July at 6pm.

On show as part of Memory of a Nation, the permanent exhibition of treasures from the Archives' collection, the updated No Common Creation features documents from three precedent-setting cases on industrial relations, the banning of political parties and the environment that influence our lives today.

There are new features about Justice Mary Gaudron, the first female High Court judge as well as Justice Michael Kirby, who recently deposited his personal papers in the National Archives. An extract from Justice Kirby's ASIO file is on show. Key items include the first Chief Justice Sir Samuel Griffith's wig, Prime Minister Sir Edmund Barton's benchbook and the Mabo decision on Indigenous land rights.

The launch will take place on the eve of Constitution Day, an annual National Archives commemoration on 9 July designed to encourage people to reflect on, and celebrate, the meaning and continuing importance of the Constitution. 

The High Court was established by Section 71 of the Constitution, which can also be seen at the National Archives in Canberra. The title of the display came from Alfred Deakin's remark, before he became prime minister, that the court was 'no common creation'.

Director-General Ross Gibbs said, 'As both the highest court of appeal in Australia and the body responsible for determining the meaning of the Constitution, the High Court is critically important to the nation and a fitting subject for this display,' he said.

Media representatives are welcome to attend the launch, film and take photographs at the National Archives, Queen Victoria Terrace, Parkes, ACT.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2017