Ninian Stephen

Ninian Stephen
The Right Honourable
Sir Ninian Stephen
20th Governor-General of Australia
In office
29 July 1982 – 16 February 1989
Monarch Elizabeth II
Preceded by Sir Zelman Cowen
Succeeded by Bill Hayden
Puisne Justice of the High Court of Australia
In office
1 March 1972 – 11 May 1982
Preceded by Sir Victor Windeyer
Succeeded by Sir William Deane
Judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria
In office
30 June 1970 – 29 February 1972
Personal details
Born 15 June 1923 (1923-06-15) (age 88)
Oxford, Oxfordshire
United Kingdom
Spouse(s) Valerie Sinclair (1949–present)
Profession Barrister and Judge

Sir Ninian Martin Stephen, KG, AK, GCMG, GCVO, KBE, QC (born 15 June 1923) is a retired politician and judge, who served as the 20th Governor-General of Australia and as a Justice in the High Court of Australia.[1]


Early life

Ninian Martin Stephen was born on 15 June 1923 in Oxfordshire, England. He was less than a year old when his father, Frederick, who had been a motorcycle courier in World War I, died, leaving him to be raised by his mother Barbara. Ninian Stephen attended St. Paul's School, West Kensington, London, from Spring Term 1937 to March 1938.[2] He emigrated to Australia as a child. He was educated at Scotch College and at the University of Melbourne, but his studies were interrupted by World War II, in which he served in the Australian Army in New Guinea and Borneo, rising to the rank of lieutenant. He completed his legal studies in 1950, and was called to the Victorian Bar in 1952. By the 1960s he was one of Australia's leading constitutional and commercial lawyers. He was made a Queen's Counsel in 1966.[1]

Judicial career

On 30 June 1970 Stephen was appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria, which is the highest ranking court in the Australian State of Victoria. He held this position until 29 February 1972, relinquishing it to take up his appointment as a Justice to the High Court of Australia.[1]

Although Stephen was appointed by a Liberal government, he proved not to be a traditional conservative upholder of states' rights. He joined the "moderate centre" of the court, between the arch-conservatism of Sir Garfield Barwick and the radicalism of Lionel Murphy. In 1982 he was part of the majority that decided on a broad interpretation of the "external affairs power" of the Australian Constitution in the Koowarta v Bjelke-Petersen case.[citation needed]


In March 1982, on the advice of Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, Queen Elizabeth II (as Queen of Australia) appointed Stephen Governor-General.[1] When Fraser was defeated by the Labor Party under Bob Hawke in 1983, Stephen had no difficulty working with a Labor government. In 1987, on Hawke's advice, the Queen extended Stephen's term by 18 months, as a mark of personal respect and also to allow Bill Hayden (to whom Hawke had promised the position) to leave politics at a time of his choosing. Stephen is the only governor-general to have approved two double dissolutions – in 1983 (Malcolm Fraser) and 1987 (Bob Hawke).

Later work

In 1989 Sir Ninian became the first Australian Ambassador for the Environment[1], and in his three-year term was particularly energetic in working for a ban of mining in Antarctica. In 1991 he undertook one of the most difficult of all tasks when he was appointed chairman of the second strand of the Northern Ireland peace talks. Between 1993 and 1997 he was a judge on the international tribunals investigating war crimes in Yugoslavia and Rwanda. He has also been chairman of the Citizenship Council since 1998.[citation needed]

He has since moved back into the legal field, becoming president of the Arbitral Tribunal for the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes under Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).[citation needed]


Stephen was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in 1970, and sworn of the Privy Council in 1979. As Governor-General he was made a Knight of the Order of Australia (AK), Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG) and Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO). In 1994 Queen Elizabeth II appointed him a Knight of the Garter (KG). He therefore has the unusual distinction of holding five knighthoods, and joined Lord Casey and Sir Paul Hasluck as one of the few Australian Knights of the Garter. In 1983, he received the Legion d'Honneur.[1]

Sir Ninian Stephen delivered the first Sir Ninian Stephen Lecture at the University of Newcastle's Law School in 1993, giving his name to this lecture series.[citation needed]


  • Ninian Stephen (1923–1966)
  • Ninian Stephen QC (1966–1970)
  • The Hon. Ninian Stephen QC (1970–1972)
  • The Hon. Sir Ninian Stephen KBE QC (1972–1979)
  • The Rt. Hon. Sir Ninian Stephen KBE QC (1979–1982)
  • His Excellency The Rt. Hon. Sir Ninian Stephen AK GCMG GCVO KBE QC (1982–1989)
  • The Rt. Hon. Sir Ninian Stephen AK GCMG GCVO KBE QC (1989–1994)
  • The Rt. Hon. Sir Ninian Stephen KG AK GCMG GCVO KBE QC (since 1994)

Private life

Sir Ninian married Valerie Sinclair in 1949, and is the father of five daughters. One of his daughters, Mary Stephen, was married to Peter Hayes QC.

Sir Ninian and Lady Stephen are patrons of the Australian Inland Botanic Gardens.[3]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f High Court of Australia (2010). "About the Justices". Retrieved 2011-05-07. "Sir Ninian Stephen (born 1923). A Justice 1972–82. Joined Victorian Bar 1952 (QC 1966). Served with AIF, World War II. Judge Supreme Court of Victoria 1970–72. Governor-General of Australia 1982–89. Australian Ambassador for the Environment 1989–92. Chairman, Second Strand Nthn Ireland Peace Talks 1992. Judge International Tribunals for former Yugoslavia and Rwanda since 1993. PC (1979)." 
  2. ^ Confirmed in St. Paul's School Registers, pub. 1990.
  3. ^ "A community project". Retrieved 2 October 2009. 

External links

Offices held

Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Zelman Cowen
Governor-General of Australia
Succeeded by
Bill Hayden

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем сделать НИР

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ninian Stephen — Sir Ninian Martin Stephen, KG, (* 15. Juni 1923 in Oxfordshire; gebürtig Ninian Martin Stephen) war zwischen 1982 und 1989 australischer Generalgouverneur. Leben Geboren in England, wanderte Stephen bereits als Kind nach Australien ein, wo er… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ninian Stephen — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Stephen. Ninian Stephen Ninian Stephen Mandats …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Sir Ninian Stephen Lecture — The Sir Ninian Stephen Lecture is an annual event held by the Law School of the University of Newcastle, Australia. The first lecture was delivered by former Governor General Sir Ninian Stephen in 1993, to celebrate the establishment of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Ninian — refers to a variety of different people and locations:People * Saint Ninian (c. 360 432) is the earliest known Christian bishop to have visited Scotland. * Ninian Edwards, former Governor of Illinois. * Sir Ninian Stephen, former Governor General …   Wikipedia

  • Stephen — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Leslie Stephen (1832–1904), britischer Kleriker, Historiker, Literat und Bergsteiger Marcus Stephen (* 1969), nauruischer Gewichtheber und Staatspräsident Ninian Stephen (* 1923), australischer… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ninian (disambiguation) — Saint Ninian was a medieval Christian bishop who evangelized the Picts. Ninian may also refer to: Ninian Edwards (1775 – July 20, 1833), former Governor of Illinois Ninian Stephen (born 1923), former Governor General of Australia Ninian Park, a… …   Wikipedia

  • Stephen (surname) — Family name name = Stephen imagesize= 200 px caption= pronunciation = Stev in or stef en meaning = region = English, Welsh and German origin = English, German related names = Steven, Stephenson, Stevens and Fitzstephen. footnotes = [… …   Wikipedia

  • Stephen — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Stephen (pour les anglophones prononcé Steven et souvent abrégé en Steve) est une variante anglo saxonne du prénom Étienne aussi utilisée comme toponyme… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Stephen — I. /ˈstivən/ (say steevuhn) noun 1. Saint, the first martyr; stoned to death. Acts 6,7. 2. Saint, c. 975–1038, first king of Hungary. 3. 1097?–1154, king of England 1135–54. II. /ˈstivən/ (say steevuhn) noun Sir Ninian Martin /ˈnɪniən/ ( …  

  • Ninian Park — The Old Lady, The Bearpit Full name Ninian Park Former names Sloper Park …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”