DOB: June 30 1851 Co. Down, Ireland
DOD: January 13 1929 Heronswood Dromana Vic
Carlton President 1904
The family emigrated to Australia in 1870. Henry was educated at Wesley College Dublin, and at Melbourne University graduating in Law. He practised law in Melbourne in 1876 and became a QC in 1903.
Elected to the Victorian Legislative Assembly in 1894, and was a delegate to the consitutional convention that drew up the Australian Constitution. In 1906 he was appointed Justice of the High Court of Australia, and in 1907 delivered the famous Harvester Judgement which awarded workers of H. V. McKay's Sunshine Harvester Works a wage guaranteeing them a standard of living that was reasonable for a "human being in a civilised community", despite the factory owner's ability to pay. This led to the "basic wage", which, for most of the 20th Century dominated the Australian economic scene.
This was an histotic moment in world history. For first time a government recognised the rights of workers. Employees were no longer a comoddity to be used and abused.
The Federal Electorate of Higgins in Melbourne's south eastern suburbs is named after him.
ANECDOTAL PHOTOGRAPHS - No. 28 Mr. H. B. Higgins1892 Table Talk May 13, profile.
The Age May 07 1904