Engineers: The Drama of its Day in the Climate of its Era

Free Public Lecture

Engineers: The Drama of its Day in the Climate of its Era

Conference Centre, Level 10,
Melbourne Law School
185 Pelham Street


2019 Allen Hope Southey Memorial Lecture

Who were the heroes of the Engineers’ Case? In this public lecture, The Honourable Justice Stephen Gageler AC reflects on the people behind the landmark decision. There was the young Robert Menzies, counsel for the successful party, who was permitted by the High Court to challenge its earlier decisions. There was Frank Leverrier KC, who appeared for the Commonwealth and ably supported Menzies’ argument. Most prominently, there was Samuel Griffith and Isaac Isaacs, who stood on either side of a debate about the federal compact that culminated in the Court’s decision. But Griffith and Isaacs were as committed to the resolution of their debate by an Australian High Court as they were to their own views. By the time of the decision, Griffith had foreseen the need for old doctrines to be revised, and the new era of post-war Australia provided the conditions for Isaacs’s view to prevail over Griffith’s.

The free public lecture will officially commence the Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies (CCCS) 2019 Constitutional Law Conference which will be held on Friday 26 July. For more information about the conference registration, please visit the information link below.

Allen Hope Southey Memorial Lecture

In 1958, Ethel Thorpe Southey, better known as Nancy Southey, made a gift to the University of Melbourne to endow a law lectureship in memory of her husband Allen Hope Southey, who had graduated as a Master of Laws in the University in 1917 and died in 1929 at the age of 35. Thirty years later, the Allen Hope Southey Memorial Lecture again enjoyed the support of the Southey family as they made further donations to build on Nancy Southey’s initiative. Forty years later, Mr and Mrs Southey’s son, Sir Robert Southey, made a generous gift in his will to the lectureship fund his mother had established. And in 2008, 50 years later, the five sons of Sir Robert Southey continued the family’s support of the Allen Hope Southey Memorial Lecture at Melbourne Law School.


  • Justice Stephen Gageler
    Justice Stephen Gageler, High Court of Australia