Thomas à Beckett

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Sir Thomas à Beckett (31 August 1836 – 21 June 1919) [1] was an Australian solicitor and judge.



Thomas à Beckett was born in London, England. He was the eldest son of Thomas Turner à Beckett [2] and arrived in Australia with his father (brother of Sir William à Beckett) in January 1851, arriving in Melbourne on the Andromache.

À Beckett attended a private school in Melbourne but went back to England in 1856 and on 18 May 1857 became a student at Lincoln's Inn, being called to the bar on 17 November 1857. [3] He returned to Victoria, and was admitted to the bar there on 16 August 1860, and practised before the Supreme Court of Victoria in Melbourne. [3] In 1866 he was made a puisne judge of the Victorian Supreme Court and was frequently required to act as Victoria's Chief Justice.

In 1875 à Beckett married Isabella, the daughter of Sir Archibald Michie, [3] who survived him with two sons and three daughters. A younger brother, Edward à Beckett (1844-1932), was a portrait painter. Examples of his work are at the Supreme Court, Melbourne.

He was knighted as Knight Bachelor during 1909.

In 1916 the Victorian bar presented his portrait by Max Meldrum to the Supreme Court library, and the opportunity was taken to express the affection in which à Beckett was held. [1]

Sir Thomas à Beckett died at Melbourne on 21 June 1919.


À Beckett was called to the bar in 1859 while he was still in England. He returned to Melbourne in 1860 where he established his practice as a solicitor, specializing in equity. He was lecturer in the law of procedure for several years at the University of Melbourne from 1874 onwards, and had been leader of the equity bar for some time when he was appointed a supreme court judge in September 1886.

À Beckett served as a judge from 30 September 1886 until 30 June 1917 on the Supreme Court of Victoria. He retired on 31 July 1917.

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  1. 1 2 Serle, Percival (1949). "à Beckett, Sir Thomas". Dictionary of Australian Biography . Sydney: Angus and Robertson.
  2. Griffith, R. G. De B. "'à Beckett, Sir Thomas (1836–1919)". Australian Dictionary of Biography . Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  3. 1 2 3 Mennell, Philip (1892). "a'Beckett, His Honour Thomas"  . The Dictionary of Australasian Biography. London: Hutchinson & Co via Wikisource.