Vale Peter O'Callaghan QC


Bar Roll No: 622

It is with deep regret that we inform members of the passing of Peter O’Callaghan QC, who died on 8 March 2020 at the age of 88 years. The funeral of Peter O’Callaghan QC will be live streamed from 11:00AM on Wednesday 18 March. You can watch the service on this link here.

Peter O’Callaghan was born in 1931 in Horsham. He left school at 14 and worked as a mechanic. He was an outstanding footballer and played full forward for Horsham. Dr O’Brien, a Horsham doctor, advised Peter that he should study for his matriculation as an adult student by correspondence school. Peter did so, obtained outstanding results and was admitted to the Law School at Melbourne University.

Peter worked as a clerk at Brendan McGuinness & Co before being called to the Bar in 1961, where he read with the Hon Sir Kevin Anderson QC.

Peter established a wide ranging practice, from crime to liquor licensing to town planning, environmental law and major constitutional and commercial cases. He appeared in many royal commissions and boards of inquiry. He was the AFL Appeals Board Chairman and the Independent Commissioner for the Catholic Church for over 20 years.

A superb advocate, Peter was renowned for his court craft and wit. He is remembered as decent, compassionate, wise and just, in and out of the court room. He was a great raconteur. He was the epitome of the good man. He spoke no ill of anyone and took unfounded criticism with a shrug of his shoulders. He relished life.

While he did not take any formal readers, Peter was a mentor to many throughout his career. He took silk in 1974 and was recognised as a Legend of our Bar in 2012.

Peter was a Director of BCL from 1982-1992. As Chairman of the building committee, Peter was responsible for administering the construction of Owen Dixon Chambers West, which could not have been completed but for his business acumen, legal skills and charm.

When the Peter O’Callaghan QC Gallery was established in 2014, Peter was the senior member of our Bar; he retired from active practice only last year. In the eponymous gallery, Peter O’Callaghan’s portrait by Rick Amor gazes with good humour on a new generation.



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