Print Page print
Moore's wife Edith also played a role in the move toward Federation, taking part in social movements such as that of getting the vote for women.

Image title:
William Moore

National Library of Australia

Image ID:

William Moore (1867–1935)

Professor of law and expert on the Australian Constitution

Moore was a brilliant student of law in Britain. When 25 he was appointed professor of law at the University of Melbourne. This was the usual way the tiny universities of Australia appointed professors. They asked someone in Britain to recommend a promising young scholar. In return for going to the colonies, that person (a male, in those days) became a professor very young. That way, the colonies got the benefit of his British education, which they thought the best, and of his youthful energy.

Moore arrived in 1892 and took a great interest in the Federation movement. As Australia's constitution was being drawn up, he was asked to give advice on the wording. Once Federation was achieved, he wrote a book called The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia. He predicted that, as the people controlled the constitution, it would be changed by 'Yes' votes at referendums rather than by judges of the High Court. In fact the opposite has turned out to be the case. But Moore was the teacher of many of the lawyers who became judges of the High Court.