Former Governor-General of Australia

Born in the United Kingdom on 15th June 1923, Sir Ninian was educated in the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Australia and served between 1941 and 1946 in Australian Army. He was admitted into practise in Victoria as a Barrister and Solicitor in 1949 after studies at the University of Melbourne; LL.B. (Melbourne) 1950.

From 1949-52 he practiced as a solicitor and then from 1952 as a barrister and member of the Victorian Bar practising principally in commercial, equity, taxation and constitutional areas; appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1966. Appointed to the Victorian Supreme Court bench in 1970, he moved on to the High Court of Australia 1972. Sir Ninian was sworn of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom in 1979 and sat as a member of its Judicial Committee. He retired from the High Court of Australia in 1982 when senior puisne justice to take up appointment as Governor-General of Australia, which office he held until 1989.

Appointed Australia’s first Special Ambassador for the Environment 1989-1992; Chairman of various Australian governmental and other bodies including the Constitutional Centenary Foundation, the Antarctic Foundation, was Chairman of the National Library of Australia for six years and Chairman of the Australian Banking Industry Ombudsman Council for four years. Appointed in 1992 by the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland Governments as Chairman of Strand Two of the Talks on Northern Ireland. Elected as a Judge of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia 1993-1997. Appointed in 1994 Commonwealth of Nations Special Envoy to Bangladesh. Chairman of the United Nations Expert Group on Cambodia 1998-1999. Chaired the Australian Citizenship Council, the Australian Blood and Blood Products Review and the Gene Technology Community Consultative Committee. Appointed in 2000, Member of the Ethics Commission of the International Olympic Committee.

Honours and Awards: KG, AK, GCMG, GCVO, KBE, PC, Commandeur de la Legion d’Honneur. Hon. Doctorates (Melbourne, Sydney, Griffith Universities and University of Western Australia), Hon. Master, Gray’s Inn, London.