The Honourable Sir Walter Campbell AC QC (1921-2004)



Mr. Deputy Chancellor

The occasion which prompts me to address you rather than the Chancellor is ahappy one both for me and for the University for I will be inviting you, pursuant to a resolution from the Senate of this University, to award the Chancellor, the Honourable Sir Walter Campbell, the degree of Doctor of Laws honoris causa. 

Sir Walter Campbell is, first and foremost, a lawyer. There is a symbol which lawyers have adopted, with a keen sense of irony, to represent the ideal of their profession - the attainment of justice. It is the figure of a woman, blindfolded, made of stone and therefore immobile. It is the very antithesis of the much-travelled, warm-hearted and wide-awake man we honour tonight. 

Sir Walter was born in Burringbar in New South Wales and was educated at Downlands College before coming to the University of Queensland. From his earliest days as a student of Arts and Law at this University, he immersed himself with extraordinary energy in all aspects of its life. His undergraduate career falls into three parts, the middle part including active service in the Royal Australian Air Force, when he completed. his Arts degree through external study. 

In the period before this he had been elected editor of Semper Floreat, the student news magazine, and I am realiably informed that his language today shows very significant improvement. from that time. 

On returning from war service, Sir Walter completed an M.A. degree in Philosophy and his honours LL.B. course, having been president of the University Law Students $ociety, leader of the University Debating team and winner of the Virgil Power Prize for the student showing greatest proficiency in the final two years of the Law course. He was admitted to the Queensland Bar in 1948. Legal knowledge, legal judgement and a keen sense of justice come only after. deep study and a wide and varied experience - though the Law's love for fiction is such that it assumes that everyone knows the law. Indeed, Jeremy Bentham has suggested that lawyers are the only persons in whom ignorance of the law is not punished. 

Most people believe that they know instinctively what justice demand. In reality, a lawyer grows in his profession -only by active involvement both in the theory and practice of the law and in the wider affairs of the community; no one has been more involved than Sir Walter Campbell. 

After his graduation, when so many leave the University seldom to return, his active interest continusd. From 1948 to 1965 he- was a special Lecturer in Law and he remained a member of the Board of the Faculty of Law until 1976. Since 1963 he has been a member of the University Senate and he is now completing his first three year term as Chancellor of this University. 

Sir Walter has had a distinguished career and has achieved an eminent position in the profession of Law. He became a Queen's Counsel 'in 1960 and was appointed a Justice of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 1967. He is president of the Queensland Bar Association from 1965 to 1967 and. of the Australian Bar Association during the latter part of that term. He was Chairman of the Queensland Law Reform Commission from 1969 to 1973 and has published articles on legal issues in the Australian Law Journal and in the University of Queensland Law Journal. 

It is in recognition of his many services to the community that in 1979 he was made a Knight Bachelor in the Queen's Birthday honours list. His zest for work has not prevented him from leading a vigorous social life and the University has no records which indicate whether he ever sleeps. Mr. Deputy Chancellor, I present to you Walter Benjamin Campbell, Knight Bachelor, Queen's Counsel, Master of Arts, Bachelor of Laws, for admission to the degree of Doctor of Laws honoris causa.



Doctor of Laws honoris causa


Bachelor of Arts
Master of Arts
Bachelor of Laws (Honours)
Doctor of Laws honoris causa