Cumpston Research

The best products at the best prices!

Watson Cumpston death cert Trinity House Hull lloyds ship Voilier withernsea pier

Frank McGrath [Judge]

Interview with Judge Frank McGrath [sound recording] / interviewer, Amy McGrath [Amy CUMPSTON his wife]


Audio Bib ID 888330  Format Audio  Author McGrath, Frank, 1921-  

Access Conditions Access closed during Judge McGrath's lifetime.   Description 1983 Jan. 29.  

4 cassettes (ca. 240 min.) : 1 7/8 ips., mono. + transcript (104 leaves)  


Summary McGrath recalls his childhood and family life in Bankstown; the effects of migration and the impact of the Depression on him and his family; education; involvement in the Ironworkers' Union; studies at University Law School; work in the Workers Compensation Commission of New South Wales.


Notes Transcript (104 leaves).





ABC / 30x60m-e / 1978-80

Producers: Anthony Hughes, Ray Huggett

An entertainment show which took the form of finding out about the musical tastes of well known people from the world of TV, Music, Sport etc. Hosts were Carol Raye (1978), Walter Sullivan (1979) and Don Dunstan (1980). Guests included Judge Frank McGrath,

Play scripts British Drama League (Aust.) Description 184 cm. (132 folders).


Abstract 317 (including duplicates) working scripts used by the League. Plays by writers such as Dymphna Cusack, Catherine Shepherd, Louis Esson, Dorothy Blewett, Gwen Meredith, Dulcie Deamer, George Landen Dann, Betty Roland, Ric Throssell, Stephen and Sylvia Kelen, John O'Grady, Alan Hopgood, Marien Dreyer, and Vance Palmer are represented, as well as some by famous overseas writers such as G. B. Shaw, Theodore Dreiser and Jean Giraudoux.

Biography Amy McGrath, Convenor of the International Music Theatre forum, 1977 and her husband Judge Frank McGrath established in 1970 a private playhouse called "The Mews" at the rear of their Centennial Park Home, Sydney. The Australian branch of the British Drama League was inaugurated at a public meeting held in Sydney on June 30th 1937. Originally the name was British Drama League, Australian Branch, N.S.W. Division, but in 1944 it was changed to British Drama League (Australia). In 1968 it became the Drama League of Australia, and is now probably defunct. Its general aims were (a) the formation of a Library (b) the holding of a National Festival of Community Drama, and (c) the building of a theatre in Sydney for use by affiliated societies. The League itself did not produce plays.

Manuscript reference: NLA MS 5579. Cited In Guide to collections of manuscripts relating to Australia ; From Collection National Library of Australia - National Library of Australia Local id: 2839872 Shelf: MS 5579 Record number 10103615 Updated 09 February

His Hon Judge Frank McGrath, Chairman, Workers' Compensation Commission of New South Wales 29 October 1982- 12 May 1983

Letter to the Australian Premier:

The Hon Peter Beattie MLA Queensland Premier Executive Building 80 George Street BRISBANE QLD 4000

Dear Premier


We, the undersigned legal practitioners formerly on the Bench, currently at the Bar or in legal practice, seek to re-affirm our sworn duty to uphold the rule of law throughout the Commonwealth of Australia and to indicate our deep concern about its undermining as the unresolved Heiner affair reveals.


We believe that it is the democratic right of every Australian to expect that the criminal law shall be applied consistently, predictably and equally by law-enforcement authorities throughout the Commonwealth of Australia in materially similar circumstances. We believe that any action by Executive Government which may have breached the law ought not be immune from criminal prosecution where and when the evidence satisfies the relevant provision........


........Such an independent transparent process we believe will restore public confidence in the administration of justice throughout the Commonwealth of Australia, more especially in Queensland.

[one of the signatories]

.................. Dr Frank McGrath - Retired Chief Judge Compensation Court of New South Wales


* (For details see Mr. Kevin Lindeberg's article in Volume 17 of The Samuel Griffith Society's book "Upholding the Australian Constitution."


[The remaining document can be viewed at]













The planning and conducting of the Australia Day Regatta has been a voluntary effort by many prominent Sydney yachtsmen since its inception in 1837.    



Judge Colin P Davidson OAM

Dr Frank McGrath OBE AM

Mr Richard Notley

Mr Justus Veeneklaas

The Hon Dr Frank MCGRATH, AM, OBE was educated at Canterbury Boys High School, Sydney and the University of Sydney (BA, 1944; MA, 1946; LLB, 1950). After practising as a solicitor (1950-51) and barrister at the Sydney Bar (1951-66), he was appointed to the NSW Workers' Compensation Commission in 1966, becoming its Chairman in 1982 prior to his appointment as Chief Judge of the Compensation Court of NSW (1984-93). Among many other interests he has served on the Arts Council of NSW (President 1975-84) and as Chairman of the Australian Playwrights' Theatre Company (1977-86). In 2001 he was awarded his PhD by the University of Sydney for his thesis on the Convention Debates.

Dr. Frank R. McGrath AM OBE LLB PhD

Dr. McGrath’s Doctorate of Philosophy was awarded for his thesis on “The intention of the framers of the Australian Constitution”.(Frank McGrath 2003) ISBN 0-958-160-2-1-X He is a Constitutional expert. He stated on 3rd July 2001:


“Both Sovereign and Head of State have their separate and distinct functions”


“These functions are now separately exercised by the Queen as Sovereign, and the Governor-General as Australian Head of State”.

The Guardian May 2, 2001 State-wide strike for compo rights


Last Friday, April 27, Australia hosted the International Day of Mourning for workers killed as a result of their work. The protest and remembrance to mark climbing fatalities of workplace related deaths around the world, including Australia, powerfully reinforces the need for

increased occupational health and safety measures in workplaces to protect workers' health and lives. In NSW it also serves to highlight the Carr Government's attempt to wipe out workers' compensation rights.


The Carr Government's Workers' Compensation Legislation Bill 2001 is aimed at taking away fundamental rights from injured workers, including the right of access to common law to sue negligent employers. It puts restrictive rules in place which would make it all but impossible for most of those seeking compensation to receive payment.


Under these harsh new rules about 95 percent of injured workers currently eligible for compensation would receive no payments.  Workers would no longer receive lump sum payments if they cannot prove they have suffered a 10 percent permanent body impairment, 25 percent for common law claims.


Further, before any claim can go to court a new Claims Assessment Service would have the power to make legally binding decisions on such matters as the degree of a worker's permanent bodily impairment. Workers will have no right to appeal except in the most extreme cases.


Frank McGrath, the former chief judge of the Compensation Court, said last week that the Carr Government was looking for the quickest way to get rid of injured workers. "Under the proposed system, you should no longer call it the Workers' Compensation Act — it should be a departmental economies act."






Mrs Kathleen Tomlinson, Mrs Alma Emmanuel, Judge Frank McGrath on airstrip Minj Station, Wahgi Valley, Papua New Guinea, 1954 [picture] / Terence and Margaret Spencer (Frank's sister in law)


Picture Bib ID 2671620  

Author Spencer, Terence E. T


Online Versions  

Series Spencer collection of slides of Papua New Guinea, 1953-1978.  

Subjects Papua New Guinea - Photographs.  

Other Authors Spencer, Margaret, 1916-




[Biographical cuttings on Frank McGrath, former judge and playwright]


Book Bib ID 440070  

Format Book  



Workers' compensation & Comcare : an update / presented by the Honourable Chief Judge McGrath & Olga Liavis


Book Bib ID 1550614  

Format Book  


Description Sydney : Young Lawyers, Law Society of New South Wales, 1992.  11, 7 p. ; 30 cm.  


ISBN 0646090143 (not printed on item) :  0646090143  


Series Papers (Law Society of New South Wales. Young Lawyers Section. Continuing Legal Education)  

 "This paper was presented by the Young Laywers section on the 26 February 1992'.


Available from Young Laywers, Law Society of New South Wales, 170 Phillip Street, Sydney NSW 2000.



Bib ID 2876216  

Format Manuscript  

Author McGrath, Frank, 1921-


Access Conditions Available for reference. Not for loan.   Description [ca.1972].  79 leaves.  


Summary Typescript play entitled: "Harry was a Bolschie", performed at the Australia Theatre, Sydney in Sept.-Oct. 1973. The play is set in the depression of 1929-1933 and attempts to portray how the crisis affected a Sydney suburban working-class family.


Biography/History Frank R. McGrath is a judge with the N.S.W. Workers Compensation Commission.  

Notes Manuscript reference: NLA MS 3980. Photocopy.

Original in private ownership.




THINGS WE SHARE IN COMMON The Hon Justice Michael Kirby AC CMG


I begin with words of respect for the three heads of jurisdiction who are at this occasion.

I start with his Honour Frank McGrath AM, OBE. He is a link with the Workers' Compensation Commission of New South Wales, created by the Workers' Compensation Act 1926 (NSW). Indeed, he was the last Chairman of that Commission, having been appointed a Member on 2 May 1966 and elevated to Chairman on 3 September 1982. Subsequently, on the creation of the Compensation Court of New South Wales by the Compensation Court Act 1984 (NSW), he became the first

Chief Judge of the Compensation Court. All of the Judges of the old Commission became Judges of the new Court. In this respect, the New South Wales Parliament avoided the sorry spectacle that unfolded when the compensation tribunals in Victoria and Western Australia were abolished and their jurisdiction absorbed by the general courts1.


I have known Frank McGrath all of my professional life. I 'briefed' him as a barrister in my first days as an articled clerk. He was always a serious and careful advocate. He was equally at home Before juries or in front of Judges of the Commission. He appeared in all courts, including the High Court. Mind you, arising from our early relationship, he never ceased to correct me where he felt my performance fell below his own exceptionally high standards. Before him, in court, I always had to be specially good. He was a just and accurate Judge and is one of my mentors. I pay my respects to him.


1 Cf Attorney-General (NSW) v Quin (1990) 170 CLR 1; Macrae v Attorney-General (NSW) (1987) 9 NSWLR 268; A Twomey, The Constitution of New South Wales (Federation, 2004), 744-6.

Dr Frank McGrath OBE, AM, has been elected a Life Member of the Australia Day Regatta in recognition of his long service to the regatta in the 1970s and 1980s. Frank joins other Life Members Colin Davidson OAM, Geoff Lee AM, OAM, Dick Notley, Brian Northam and Justus Veeneklaas who have contributed so much to the ongoing success of the Regatta. After a very successful career as a barrister, Dr McGrath was a Judge of the Compensation Court of NSW and its predecessor, The Workers’ Compensation Commission, for more than 20 years. For the last ten of these years he was the Chief Judge.

A keen sailor, he served on the Royal Sydney Anniversary Regatta (as it was then known) Management Committee for many years and was its Chairman for 16 years from 1973 to 1988. Nominating Dr McGrath for Life Membership, Life Member (and former Judge) Colin Davidson recalled that, together with the then Honorary Secretary, Bob Lundie, Frank “ran the Regatta not on the smell of an oil rag, but on a breath of fresh air!” Judge Davidson added: “Frank, in his earlier years, was a very keen Heron sailor and a member of the Double Bay Sailing Club. Past Regatta programs record that he sailed his Heron Stelazine in the 1971, 1972 and 1973

Regattas. It is interesting to note that in 1973 one of our current committee members, John Winning, sailed his 12ft skiff Yandoo. Judge Davidson went on to quote the 1989 Regatta program’s acknowledgement of Frank McGrath’s service to the Regatta:

‘Judge McGrath has brought to the offi ce of Chairman a practical understanding of the

significance of the Regatta. ‘Despite a heavy workload as Chief Judge of his Court, he has displayed great enthusiasm and effort in discharging his duties as our Chairman. In particular, we remember the significant part that he played in organising our most successful 150th Regatta in

conjunction with the Maritime Services Board. It was fi tting that he was our Chairman on this historic event. ‘Judge McGrath’s firm but courteous manner has enabled him to co-ordinate the energies of the members of the Committee and ensure the perpetuation of this historic event.’

Indeed, Life Member Frank McGrath’s efforts, along with those of more recent members of the

Management Committee, have ensured the future and the expansion of the Australia Day Regatta as a fitting commemoration of our National Day.


Frank was born in 1922  :

McGrath  Frank R  mother Mary Broadfield  Birkenhead  8a 788.

daughter of Eli Broadfield  b. 1862 Kidderminster, Worcester, England d.  Birkenhead, England and Margaret Gerrard m. 27 August 1883 Liverpool, England.  Frank emigrated to Australia with his parents when he was 2 years old

Children of Frank and Amy


Rosalind F Croucher


C Eloise

Vivian Mcgrath

We were delighted to have Frank and Amy come to stay with us in the Yorkshire Dales in May 2010.


See the photos here.