Obituary & Notice of Memorial - The Honourable John ('Jack') Winneke AC RFD QC



It is with deep regret that the Bar Council informs members of the death this morning of the Honourable John (‘Jack’) Winneke AC RFD QC. Jack was 81.

A Memorial Service for the Honourable John (‘Jack’) Winneke AC RFD QC is to take place on Friday 12th April 2019 at 3.30pm at Scots Church, corner of Russell and Collins Streets, Melbourne.

Jack was born on 19 March 1938 and educated at Scotch College and the University of Melbourne. An outstanding football player, Jack won the A-Grade Best and Fairest in 1959 whilst playing for the University Blacks before joining the Hawthorn Football Club, where he played 50 games, including as ruckman in the club’s VFL Premiership side in 1961.

Jack was admitted to practice on 1 March 1962 and signed the Bar Roll a week later, reading with Gordon Just, who had himself read with Jack’s father, the Hon Sir Henry Winneke AC KCMG KCVO OBE QC. Sir Henry was, in succession, Solicitor-General, Chief Justice and then Governor of Victoria—the first Victorian-born person to serve in that role. Jack was appointed silk in 1976.

At the Bar, Jack was in demand in every jurisdiction. He prosecuted and defended criminal cases, appeared in personal injuries, defamation and commercial cases and appeared before or assisted a number of commissions and inquiries. In 1981, he was appointed a Royal Commissioner to inquire into matters relating to the Builders Labourers Federation (BLF).

Jack served on Bar Council for three years from 1988 and chaired a number of important committees. He mentored seven readers—the Hon Peter Gray AM, Don Just, David Belson, his Honour Tim Wood RFD QC, John Larkins QC, Christopher Wren QC and the Hon Justice Stephen Kaye AM.

Jack was appointed to the Supreme Court and became the foundation President of the Victorian Court of Appeal from its establishment in June 1995 until his retirement in 2005. He was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1999, and a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in 2004, both for significant services to the judiciary in Victoria.

He was commissioned a Commander of the Royal Australian Navy Reserves, having also been a member of the Judge Advocate Panel and a Defence Force Magistrate.

Deepest sympathies are extended to Jack’s family, including Jack’s wife Sue and son Chris, both respected members of the Victorian Bar.

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