William Hemmant


The Story of William Hemmant

Hemmant’s List is named in honour of William Hemmant, an Englishman, who was a successful merchant and ultimately a member of the Legislative Assembly in Queensland in the 1860s and 1870s. He was a friend and parliamentary colleague of Robert Atkin, the father of one of the common law’s most famous jurists, Lord Atkin. He became Lord Atkin’s father-in-law on the marriage in England of Lord Atkin to his daughter, Lizzie.

Having himself returned to live in England in 1876, William Hemmant played a key role in the advancement of the faltering career of Dick Atkin at the Bar in London, by his introduction to a young solicitor whose briefs saw the fledgling barrister’s career blossom, enabling his great contribution to the administration of justice in the common law world.

Both Lord Atkin and his wife Lizzie were born in Tank Street, Brisbane, days apart. Tank Street is of course now at the heart of the courts precinct of Brisbane.

(With due attribution to the paper “Robert Atkin: Founding Father of Social Justice” by Justice Applegarth published in The Australian, January 23, 2016).