WOOLCOCK, John Laskey (1862-1929)


WOOLCOCK, John Laskey (1862-1929)
barrister and supreme court judge, Queensland
son of the Rev. William Woolcock, a Bible Christian missionary, was born at Truro, Cornwall, England, on 7 November 1862. He came to Queensland with his father in 1866, and was educated at the Brisbane Grammar School. Having won a Queensland exhibition scholarship he went to the university of Sydney and graduated B.A. in 1883. He had a brilliant course and won the gold medal for English verse, the Wentworth medal for an English esssay, the George Allen and Renwick scholarships, and the Belmore medal for agricultural chemistry. Returning to Queensland he qualified as a barrister and was admitted to the Queensland bar on 6 December 1887. He had in the meantime been private secretary to (Sir) Samuel Griffith (q.v.), and in that capacity had attended the colonial convention at Sydney in 1883, the federal council at Hobart in 1885, and the Imperial conference at London in 1887. In April 1899 he was appointed Queensland parliamentary draftsman with the right to continue his private practice, which was already a large one, and in 1910 he did a valuable piece of work when he consolidated the Queensland statutes. In December 1926, with the general approval of the profession, he was appointed a judge of the supreme court and began his duties in February 1927. He proved to be an able and hard-working judge, but died suddenly on 18 January 1929. He married (1) Miss Harper and (2) Miss Ida Withrington, who survived him with one son and one daughter of the first marriage and one son and one daughter of the second.
Woolcock was a man of high ideals, was studious and widely read, and had a great capacity for work. He wrote a good deal on legal questions such as the liquor act, the local authority act and Friendly Societies law, and was responsible for annotated issues of the justices' act and the health act. He also wrote detective stories and verse some of which appeared in the Queensland press; an example is included in A Book of Queensland Verse. He was a force in all educational matters and exercised much influence on them in Queensland. In 1895 with S. W. Brooks he initiated the movement for a public library at Brisbane, became a trustee when the library was established, and a member of the board of advice when it was taken over by the government. He was one of the original members of the university senate and for some years was chairman of its education committee. He was especially interested in his old school, the Brisbane Grammar School, of which he became a trustee in 1889, and chairman of trustees from 1906 until his death. Under his will £100 was bequeathed to the university of Queensland to found the Gertrude-Mary Woolcock memorial prize for proficiency in Greek.
The Brisbane Courier, 19 and 21 January 1929; The Daily Mail, Brisbane, 19 January 1929; Calendar of the University of Queensland, 1931.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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  • John Laskey Woolcock — (7 November 1862 ndash;18 January 1929), barrister and supreme court judge, Queensland. Woolcock was the son of the Rev. William Woolcock, a Bible Christian missionary, and Elizabeth nee White, was born in Truro, Cornwall, England. He came to… …   Wikipedia


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