Sir Richard Hanson was much more than a Judge - although he was an important Judge in his time. Before he became Chief Justice of South Australia in 1861, he was: a participant in a major government enquiry on Canada which laid the foundations for democratic self-government not only there, but in Australia and New Zealand as well; a co-founder of the polities of both South Australia and New Zealand; a campaigner for Maori land rights; and Premier of South Australia for the better part of three years.
In his later life he also became a widely-admired author on historical aspects of the New Testament, taking a free-thinking position and doubting the truth of the Bible stories. This book tells the story of his life.
Family, childhood and youth
Bound for South Australia – almost
Lord Durham’s Mission
Lord Durham’s Staff
Hanson in Canada
Hanson in Lord Durham’s Report
Arrival and Beginnings
Land Acquisition Agent
Change of Allegiance
Older and Wiser?
Native Land Rights
Candidate for Office
Disillusionment and Departure
South Australia: lawyer, citizen activist and Advocate-General
The “Fight for Religious Liberty”
Leading Member of the Bar
Marriage and Electoral Campaign
Advocate-General and Member of the Legislative Council
Survive the Shock
The New Constitution
Premier, Attorney-General and Member of Parliament
South Australia’s First Attorney-General and the Elections of 1857
Hanson and the Torrens System
Achievements of the Hanson Government
Chief Justice of South Australia
Four Papers and Conflict with the Bible Society
Knighthood and Persecution of Mrs Hanson
The Equity Dispute
Acting Governor and Member of the Court of Appeals
Hanson’s Loss of Faith and Historical Writings
The Jesus of History
Letters to and from Rome
The Apostle Paul
Death and legacy
“The latest book from the extraordinarily prolific and always interesting Greg Taylor is a biography of Sir Richard Hanson (1805–76). An impressive figure in early South Australia… [The book] makes a welcome contribution to the field of nineteenth-century South Australian legal history. Taylor remains one of the preeminent experts in this field. With a striking photograph of its subject on the dust jacket, Sir Richard Hanson also features a superb foreword by Emeritus Professor Horst Lücke, which admirably sets the scene for the extended analysis that follows.
Greg Taylor’s Sir Richard Hanson illustrates for a modern audience the life and times of one of the great Australasian colonial statesmen. Hanson made contributions as a supporter of the South Australian enterprise in London, as a leading figure in the establishment of the settlement at Wellington in New Zealand, and as Advocate/Attorney-General, Premier, Chief Justice, acting Governor and public intellectual in the young Province of South Australia." Read full review...
Matthew Stubbs, Adelaide Law Review, 2014
"Any member of the Sydney Bar can be forgiven for thinking Dr Bennett is the sole conscience of that part of our collective mind which turns itself to the judicial lives of our colonial past. … The publication of Sir Richard Hanson, premier and chief justice of South Australia, heralds the arrival of a new entrant in the field.
I enjoyed this study. It reminds us that the image of superfluous English and Irish barristers flooding the colonial bars is at best misleading, and that many many fine legal minds also had wide life experiences elsewhere in the Empire before taking up the posts for which we now remember them. In Australia, Francis Forbes is only one among many examples, and now we have an excellent life of another."
David Ash, Bar News, Autumn 2014
“It is important to be reminded of the smaller stories of our settlement beginnings which set the tone for the distinct traits of the colonies which came together to form the Commonwealth. … Hanson now has received what has long been overdue - his own biography.”
The Hon Margaret White AO, Qld Legal Yearbook, 2013
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