Vale – The Honourable Peter Heerey AM QC


Bar Roll No: 810

It is with deep regret that the Bar Council informs members of the death of the Honourable Peter Heerey AM QC on Saturday 1 May 2021.

The funeral service will be held at 2:30pm on Friday 14 May at St Patrick’s Cathedral, East Melbourne. Early arrival is recommended due to COVID-19 check-in requirements.

Peter was born 16 February 1939 in Tasmania. He was educated at St Virgil’s College, Hobart and graduated with First Class Honours in laws and arts from the University of Tasmania in 1960.

In 1963 Peter was admitted to practice and in 1967 he signed the Bar Roll. Peter read with the Honourable Sir James Gobbo AC QC and was mentor to Luigi Papaleo (1974), Zoltan Friedman (1975), the Honourable Justice Sally Brown AM (1978), the Honourable Justice Anthony Cavanough (1980), the Honourable Justice Susan Kenny AM (1981), Michael Fleming QC (1982), Tim North QC (1983), Michael Corrigan (1984), and the Honourable Justice Kevin Bell AM (1985).

Peter was the Honorary Secretary to the Bar Council. He sat on numerous committees and subcommittees, and was a Bar News Editor and Editorial Board member from 1973 to 1974, and from 1986 to 1990.

In 1985 Peter was appointed Silk and on 17 December 1990 was appointed to the Federal Court of Australia, where he sat for 19 years.

In 2009, Peter returned to the Bar and remained committed to public duty, including his role as Chairperson of the Australian Electoral Commission. On 29 January 2012, Peter was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia. Peter spent his last day in Castan Chambers (named after Peter’s close friend and colleague Ron Castan AM QC) on 19 February 2021, retiring from the Bar a few weeks earlier.

In 1969, Peter married Sally Macdonald. Peter and Sally have three sons - Ed Heerey QC (member of the Victorian and NSW Bars), and twins Tom and Charlie. Peter and Sally have many grandchildren living in Victoria, NSW, and Ireland.

Peter was an energic and skilful advocate, a wise, patient and considered Judge and much-admired colleague, friend, and Bar member. Peter was best known for his extra-curricular activities, including bike riding and skiing, his extensive travels, his bounty of good stories, his poetry readings, and his authorship of a number of works, legal and literary. Peter had extensive interests from sport to politics, including his love of Rugby. Peter was generous with his time, his talents, his legal skill, and his array of literary works. For Peter’s friends and family, his death has brought great sadness. He will be greatly missed.

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