Vale – His Honour Francis (Frank) Walsh AM QC


Bar Roll No: 579

It is with deep regret that the Bar Council informs members of the death of His Honour Judge Francis (Frank) Patrick Walsh AM QC on 26 June 2021. Frank passed away peacefully in his sleep.

The funeral will be held at St Theresa’s Church in Essendon on Monday 5 July 2021 at 10.30 am. It will be live streamed here.

Frank was born on 1 February 1931 in Trentham in Victoria.  He was educated at Marist Brothers in Kyneton between 1942 and 1947 and matriculated at St Patrick’s College in Ballarat, where he boarded in 1948. He obtained Honours in Latin and French in his matriculation examinations. Frank graduated with Honours in Law from the University of Melbourne in 1954.

In 1955 Frank was admitted to legal practice. On 17 April 1958 Frank signed the Bar Roll and read with John Lewis (the father of Gerald Lewis QC). He had 3 readers, Peter Cahill (1972), Lillian Lieder QC (1973) and David Forster (1974).

Frank was a member of the Bar Council between 1968 and 1982. He held the offices of Honorary Treasurer between 1975 and 1982, Assistant Honorary Treasurer between 1972 and 1974, Director of Barristers Chambers Limited between 1976 and 1980, Trustee of the Bar Clerking Fund (1977 to 1982) and Director of Barristers Nominee Pty Ltd (1977 to 1982). He also sat on numerous committees and sub-committees. Frank established the Essoign Club and was made the first Honorary Life Member of the Club in 1982.

Frank appeared in different jurisdictions mainly in criminal and common-law cases. His first criminal case as a QC involved a difficult full-court appeal. Later he acted in the protracted caravan conspiracy trial. As a judge, he presided over many common law and criminal jury trials.

On 22 November 1977, Frank was appointed Silk and on 10 March 1982 he was appointed a Judge of the County Court of Victoria until his retirement from the Court on 31 January 2003. He returned to the Court and sat as an Acting Judge until the age of 75 on 1 February 2006. He was the Chairman of the Police Board for many years and was made a life member upon his retirement from the Board.

In 1961 he married Mary Busch and had 9 children, Anne, Peter, Matthew (a current member of the Victorian Bar and South Australian Bar), Andrew, Therese, Simon, Fiona, Veronica and James. Frank has many grandchildren and great grandchildren in Victoria, New South Wales, and Singapore. 

Frank was a tireless worker at the Bar and was renowned for his energy and determination.  He was the epitome of what a Judge should be. He was fair, courteous, and patient. 

Frank had extensive interests beyond the law including sport, racing, and had great devotion to his faith contributing widely to the Catholic Church. 

For Frank’s friends and family his death has brought great sadness. He will be greatly missed.

News Category: