​History and heritage of the Department



Heritage

The Department of Justice is the custodian of many places, assets and items that form part of the heritage of NSW.

All NSW government agencies are responsible under Section 170 of the Heritage Act 1977 (NSW) to identify, conserve and manage heritage assets owned, occupied or managed by that agency and to maintain a Heritage and Conservation or ‘S.170’ Register.

Items on the department’s S.170 Register can be found through the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage website Search for NSW Heritage 

Timeline

The Department of Justice timeline shows key milestones in the history of the department. 

1823

New South Wales Act 1823 reorganised legal system of colonial NSW under an Attorney General.

1856

Self-government for NSW meant the position of Attorney General became an elected minister.

​1901

Department  of Attorney  General and Department  of Justice were amalgamated into the Department  of the Attorney General and Justice.

​1911

The department  was divided into a basic structure of two branches, later called divisions: Justice Branch and Attorney General's Branch, which continued until the 1970s.

1970s

Attorney General and Justice became a single ministry and control of Police and Corrective Services moved  elsewhere. Department  acquired Office of the Protective  Commissioner and Justices of the Peace.

1991

Department  split into Department  of Courts Administration and the Attorney General's  Department.

1995

Change of government  resulted in the merger of the Department  of Courts Administration with the Attorney General's Department.

2009

As part of the government’s ongoing public sector reform, the Attorney General’s Department and Department of Corrective Services were amalgamated on 1 July 2009 to form the Department of Justice and Attorney General.

2011

The Department of Attorney General and Justice was created in April 2011 as part of the new administrative arrangements for the public sector to support the NSW Government. 

2014

As the principal department for the Police and Justice Cluster, the department was renamed  the Department of Police and Justice in April 2014. Later that year, the department was retitled as the Department of Justice, the name which it has today.

 

Attorneys General from 1823 - present

​2017 - 

​The Hon. Mark Speakman 

​2015 - 2017

​The Hon. Gabrielle Upton

2014 - 2015

The Hon. Brad Hazzard

2011 - 2014

Mr Gregory (Greg) Eugene Smith

2007 - 2011

The Hon. John Hatzistergos

2000 - 2007

The Hon. Robert (Bob) John Debus

1995 - 2000

The Hon. Jeffrey (Jeff) William Shaw

1992 - 1995

The Hon. John Planta Hannaford

1991 - 1992

The Hon. Peter Edward James Collins

1988 - 1991

The Hon. John Robert Arthur Dowd

1987 - 1988

The Hon. Ronald (Ron) Joseph Mulock

1984 - 1987

The Hon. Terence (Terry) William Sheahan

1984

The Hon. Neville Kenneth Wran

1983 - 1984

The Hon. David Paul Landa

1976 - 1983

The Hon. Francis (Frank) John Walker

1975 - 1976

The Hon. John Clarkson Maddison

1965 - 1975

Sir Kenneth Malcolm McCaw

1956 - 1965

The Hon. Robert Reginald Downing

1953 - 1956

The Hon. William Francis Sheahan

1941 - 1953

Major Clarence (Clarrie) Edward Martin

1932 - 1941

Sir Henry Edward Manning

1932

Sir Daniel Levy

1931 - 1932

Mr Joseph Lamaro

1927 - 1930

Mr Francis Stewart Boyce

1927, 1930 - 1931

Mr Andrew Augustus Lysaght

1921 - 1925

Sir Thomas Rainsford Bavin

1920 - 1922, 1925 - 1927

Sir Edward Aloysius McTiernan

1919 - 1920

The Hon. John Garland

1912 - 1913 (acting),
1914 - 1919

The Hon. David Robert Hall

1910 - 1914

Mr William Arthur Holman

1904 - 1910

Sir Charles Gregory Wade

1904

The Hon. James Conley Gannon

1899

Sir George Houston Reid

1893 - 1894

The Hon. Charles Gilbert Heydon

1889, 1891 - 1893

Sir Edmund Barton

1887 - 1888, 1899 - 1904

Mr Bernhard Ringrose Wise

1885 - 1886, 1888 - 1889,
1889 - 1891, 1894

Mr George Bowen Simpson

1885, 1886 - 1887,
1894 - 1898, 1898 - 1899

Mr John Henry Want

1879 - 1883

Sir Robert Wisdom

1877- 1878, 1887

Mr William John Foster

1877, 1878 - 1879

Sir William Charles Windeyer

1875 - 1877, 1877,
1883 - 1885

Mr William Bede Dalley

1873 - 1875

Sir Joseph George Long Innes

1872 - 1873

Mr Edward Butler

1836 - 1856, 1865 - 1866

Mr John Hubert Plunkett

1860 - 1863

Mr John Fletcher Hargrave

1859 - 1860

Mr Edward Wise

1859

Mr Lyttelton Holyoake Bayley

1858 - 1859

Mr Alfred James Peter Lutwyche

1857, 1863, 1865

Sir John Bayley Darvall

1856, 1857 - 1858,
1863 - 1865, 1866 - 1868,
1870 -1872

Sir James Martin

1856 - 1857, 1860,
1868 - 1870

Sir William Montagu Manning

1841 - 1843 (acting)

Sir Roger Therry

1836 - 1856, 1865 - 1866

Mr John Hubert Plunkett

1831 - 1836

Mr John Kinchela

1826 - 1831

Mr Alexander Macduff Baxter

1826

Mr William Henry Moore

1823 - 1826

Mr Saxe Bannister

 

Heads of the Department of Justice

2014 -Andrew Cappie-Wood
1991 - 2014Laurence Geoffrey (Laurie) Glanfield, AM
1978 - 1991Trevor William Haines, AO
1965 - 1978Leslie Kenneth Downs
1956 - 1964Simpson Wallace Ramsay
1945 - 1956Roy Walter Strong Kelly
1936 - 1945Melville Charles Nott
1933 - 1935William Butler Geddes
1924 - 1933William James Kessell
1921 - 1924David Ross Jamieson
1919 - 1921George Whitfield (also Acting 1916 - 1919)
1905 - 1919James Leslie Williams
1901 - 1904George Miller

 

Undersecretaries Attorney General's Department 1875 - 1901

1896 - 1901Hugh Pollock
1880 - 1896William Wilberforce Stephen
1878 - 1880George Houston Reid
1875 - 1878Alexander Greville

 

Undersecretaries Department of Justice 1873 - 1901

1896 - 1901George Miller
1887 - 1896Archibald Colquhoun Fraser
1873 - 1887William Edmond Plunkett

 

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