‘Keep it all together’
Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AO QC, Governor of NSW
(former President of the NSW Court of Appeal)
Oil and acrylic on linen
122.5 x 86.5 cm

I was first inspired by Justice Beazley’s stories through my daughter, her former tipstaff. Assisting her dad with delivering milk as a child, being turned down by David Jones who refused to make her a bar jacket, wearing a pant suit to her first judges’ meeting in spite of her colleagues’ disapproval of women in pants, raising three children while meeting the demands of being a judge – Justice Beazley was the first (and so far only) female President of the NSW Court of Appeal.

I painted Justice Beazley in her full ceremonial robes, in which she made her final appearance on the bench at her farewell ceremony. She left the Court to become the Governor of NSW. She exuded a sense of contemplation, reflection and anticipation.

She gazes beyond the canvas, looking ahead. Her chambers are reflected in the window behind her. She stands, calm and monumental, in the centre.

‘It’s about connecting the place and people – my role is to keep it all together,’ she told me.

I first painted Justice Beazley in my usual black/white style. But to highlight her humanity, I expanded my palette, using red and yellow ochre, resonating with the Indigenous paintings in her chambers.

2019 Portia Geach Memorial Award
S.H. Ervin Gallery