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Sir Henry Winneke
|21st Governor of Victoria|
1 June 1974 – 28 February 1982
|Preceded by||Sir Rohan Delacombe|
|Succeeded by||Sir Brian Murray|
|Born||20 October 1908|
Fitzroy North, Victoria
|Died||28 December 1985 (aged 77)|
|Spouse(s)||Nancy Wilkinson (1933–83; her death)|
Ellis Faul (1984–85; his death)
|Education||University of Melbourne|
Royal Australian Air Force
|Years of service||1930–1932|
|Battles/wars||Second World War|
|Awards||Officer of the Order of the British Empire|
Early life and career
Winneke was born on 20 October 1908 to the descendants of German immigrants to Victoria. His father, Henry Christian Winneke, was a judge of the County Court of Victoria. Winneke was educated at Ballarat Grammar School, Scotch College and the University of Melbourne, from which he graduated with a Bachelor of Laws in 1929 and a Master of Laws in 1930. He was a hockey player while at university, and was awarded a University Blue as well as playing in an Australian Universities team. From 1930 to 1932, he also held a lieutenant's commission in the Melbourne University Rifles. After doing articles at the solicitors firm Gair & Brahe, he was admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of Victoria on 1 May 1931 and called to the Victorian Bar on 30 July 1931. He read as a pupil of Wilfred Fullagar, who was later a judge of the High Court of Australia.
Second World War
Following the outbreak of the Second World War, Winneke was commissioned a flying officer (temporary flight lieutenant) in the Citizen Air Force, the reserve component of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), on 9 October 1939. He was subsequently promoted to temporary squadron leader on 12 February 1940, to wing commander on 1 October 1941, and to group captain a month later, when he was appointed Director of Personnel Services. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1944.
Following the end of the Second World War, Winneke left the RAAF returned to practice at the Victorian Bar. He developed a large general practice, and was described by Sir John Young (his successor as Chief Justice) as "a very sound lawyer with a clear and penetrating mind", and a "clear and powerful advocate", He was appointed a Kings Counsel in 1949, Senior Counsel for the Attorney-General and Crown prosecutor in January 1950 before being appointed Solicitor-General for the State of Victoria in 1951, the first non-minister to be appointed. His appointment was the start of the transformation of Solicitors-General in Australia to a quasi-independent statutory office. As Solicitor-General he regularly prosecuted in important Criminal trials, and also appeared for the State of Victoria in Constitutional cases in the High Court of Australia and the Privy Council. While Solicitor-General, he provided robust advice to the Victorian Government and refused to be swayed by political considerations. In 1962 he appeared for the government in the High Court, opposing any further delay to the execution of Robert Tait, who had been convicted of murder. He told the court that Tait would be executed the following day, but the government would comply with an order of the court, if it was made. The High Court then made an order delaying the execution.
Chief justice and governor
Winneke was appointed as Chief Justice of Victoria in 1964. According to Sir John Young, he was "a model of fairness", who delivered judgments which "were models of clarity and learning". He was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Victoria in 1972. In 1974, he retired from office as Chief Justice and became the Governor of Victoria, an office which he occupied with "great distinction" until 1982. He was knighted in 1957, created a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1966, a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in 1977 and a Companion of the Order of Australia in 1982. He received the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from the University of Melbourne in 1978 and Monash University in 1980.
Don Chipp said that Winneke had told him in 1971 that the convicted murderer Leith Ratten was innocent. In 1981, when Ratten had yet to be released, Chipp said Winneke denied the conversation had taken place. Later a member of the Supreme Court at the time of Ratten's trial told Tom Molomby that Winneke had wanted to remove the jury from the trial. Such a move would require a belief that the evidence would not support a guilty verdict.
Winneke was married twice, first to Nancy Wilkinson in 1933 by whom he had two sons, John and Michael. Following his first wife's death in 1983, in 1984 he married Ellis Faul, who survived him. His son, John Winneke, was also a judge on the Supreme Court of Victoria, being President of the Court of Appeal from its inception in 1995 until his retirement in 2005. Winneke was a keen golfer and follower of Australian Rules Football, being at one time the number one ticket holder of Hawthorn Football Club.
- Francis, Charles. "Winneke, Henry Christian (1874–1943)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Melbourne University Press. ISSN 1833-7538 – via National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
- "Australian Military Forces". Commonwealth of Australia Gazette (76). 28 August 1930. p. 1768. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
- "Australian Military Forces & Senior Cadets". Commonwealth of Australia Gazette (77). 3 November 1932. p. 1449. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
- Waugh, John. "Winneke, Sir Henry Arthur (1908–1985)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Melbourne University Press. ISSN 1833-7538 – via National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
- "Royal Australian Air Force – Citizen Air Force". Commonwealth of Australia Gazette (121). 2 November 1939. p. 2290. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
- "Royal Australian Air Force – Citizen Air Force". Commonwealth of Australia Gazette (41). 29 February 1940. p. 510. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
- "Obituary",  Victorian Reports, pp xi–xii.
- "Appointment – King's Counsel". Victorian Government Gazette. 30 November 1949. p. 1949:6587.
- "Mr. H. Winneke given state legal post". The Age. 12 December 1951. p. 3. Retrieved 7 February 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
- "The Victorian Bar — Oral History Part 12 – Sir Henry Winneke". Vicbar.com.au. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
- Appleby, G (28 September 2012). "The Constitutional Role of the Solicitor-General" (PDF). Retrieved 21 January 2019.
- Tait v R  HCA 57, (1962) 108 CLR 620, High Court.
- Molomby, Tom (1991). Is There a Moderate on the Roof?: ABC Years. W. Heinemann. pp. 84–85. ISBN 9780855614102.
- Coleman, Robert, Above renown: The biography of Sir Henry Winneke, South Melbourne, MacMillan Australia, 1988.
Sir Edmund Herring
| Chief Justice of Victoria
Sir John Young
Sir Edmund Herring
| Lieutenant-Governor of Victoria
Sir John Young
Sir Rohan Delacombe
| Governor of Victoria
Sir Brian Murray