Biographical entry Higgins, Henry Bournes (1851 - 1929)
KC., LittD., MA
Newton Ards, County Down, Ireland
- Politician - State - Vic (MLA or MLC) and Politician - Federal - MHR
Born in Ireland in 1851, Higgins arrived in Australia in 1870. He was called to the Victorian Bar in 1876. In 1894 he was elcted to the Victorian Parliamnent. Higgins was MHR for Northern Melbourne from 1901 to 1906 when he was appointed a Justice of the High Court of australia. In 1907 he became President of the Federal Court of Conciliation and Arbitration. Higgins is remembered for his 1907 "Harvester Judgement" that established the concept of the "sufficient wage" for unskilled workers. The "sufficient wage" soon became known as the "basic wage".
Higgins was also involved in the 1920 judgement reduced working hours for the Timber Workers Union to 44 hours per week. This opened the way for other unions to win a 44 hour week.
National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection
- 'Primary description of person CP 180 - The Hon Mr Justice Henry Bournes Higgins KC', in RecordSearch, National Archives of Australia, http://naa12.naa.gov.au/scripts/SearchOld.asp?Number=CP+180. Details
- Justice H.B. Higgins
- Photograph from "Recorder", No. 130, Special Edition, November 1984, p.8.
Bruce A. Smith
Created: 20 February 2002