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REES RUTLAND & CHARLES SYDNEY JONES, LAWYERS, ROCKHAMPTON, QLD

The cover had a strip of 3 blue ‘TWO PENCE’ stamps of New South Wales that were cancelled by 2 copies of the duplex 64/ OC 15/ D/ SYDNEY with the obliterator ‘N.S.W’ in the 3-ring oval reading downwards. This cancel was fashioned after the English duplex and was in use from 20.7.58 until 24. 9. 67, corresponding to Tobin & Orchard’s duplex #109. It was addressed to Rees. R. Jones Esq. Rockhampton, Queensland (Figure 1).

The reverse had 2 copies of the unframed ROCKHAMPTON/ OC 22/ 1884/ QUEENSLAND and there was an albino impression of ‘belt & buckle’ on the flap (Figure 2.

Rees R. & Sydney Jones was established in 1864 and was founded by Rees Rutland Jones. It is the oldest legal firm in Queensland still bearing its founder’s name. Rees Rutland Jones was born in Sydney on the 12th February, 1840, the first surviving child of Rees jones and his wife, Anne. During his early years, he was known as Rutland to distinguish him from his father. He adopted Rees as his first name when he came to Queensland in 1864. He had been educated at private schools in Sydney and Yass, N.S.W. and on 3 April 1861 he began his legal articles of clerkship to Norton Son and Barker. He sat for his law examination at the Supreme Court in Sydney and he was admitted as attorney, solicitor and proctor of the NSW Supreme Court on 4 June 1864. Soon after he travelled to Brisbane and was admitted to the Queensland Supreme Court on 3 September 1864. On the 10 September 1864 he was in Rockhampton and soon after commenced practice in a timber office building in East Street between Fitzroy and Archer Streets.

Rees Rutland Jones took as his first partner his brother-in-law William John Brown jr. and in 1872 the firm became Rees R. Jones and Brown. The next partner was Charles Sydney Jones who joined the firm in 1884. The departure of William Brown in 1886 resulted in the permanent name of the firm as Rees R & Sydney Jones. Sydney Jones was born Charles Sydney Jones in Brisbane in 1861, and he was not related to Rees Jones, and Sydney had come to Rockhampton in 1883, a year before joining Rees. When the 2 Jones’ invited Robert Gamble Brown and Robert Cecil Boland to become partners in 1895, it was on the understanding that the firm would retain the same name, which became the tradition. Since being established in 1864, the firm has had 26 partners including the founder. Six of the partners are with the firm to-day.

The firm has conducted its legal practice from several locations before moving to the building at the corner of Quay & Denham Streets in 1976., which is the firm’s current home. The building was built in 1880 originally for the Queensland National Bank. The building’s ground floor was used to conduct banking business while the upper floor was the manager’s residence. It has undergone many internal alterations over the years to allow for the operations of a modern and progressive business. The exterior of the business remains much the same as when it was built, and is a Heritage site. A photo of the building, as seen in 1996, is Figure 3.

All of the above was extracted from the company’s website and the Australian Dictionary of Biography includes more personal details of Rees Rutland Jones, as follows:

Rees Rutland Jones, solicitor, was born on 12 February 1840 in Sydney, son of Rees Jones, then a grocer and subsequently a grazier and mayor of Yass, and his wife Ann, née Thompson. The merchant David Jones was his uncle. Precocious and exceptionally gifted, Rees received his primary education at Yass. In 1852 he attended Dr, John Dunmore Lang’s Australian College, Sydney, moved to St James Grammar School in 1853 and in 1854 was tutored by William Timothy, son of William Cape, for the matriculation examination which he passed when not yet 15. He went to the University of Sydney in 1855 on a general proficiency scholarship, won the Barker scholarship for mathematics in 1857 and graduated B.A. in 1858 (M.A., 1872).

Jones was employed by the Commercial Banking Co. of Sydney until in 1861 he was articled to James Norton. Admitted as a solicitor in New South Wales on 4 June 1864 and in Queensland on 3 September, he arrived at Rockhampton, Queensland, on 10 September and spent the rest of his life there. On 12 December 1865 he married Matilda Jane, daughter of W. J. Brown, called 'Brown the Magnificent'; they had thirteen children. An alderman in 1870, he was a town solicitor in 1871-96, an original trustee of the Rockhampton Grammar School and chairman in 1885-98, and president of the Rockhampton Club for thirty years.

Jones established a legal business in Rockhampton in partnership with his brother-in-law William John Brown. When Brown died in 1889 he was replaced by Charles Sydney Jones (no relation). More than ninety years later the firm was still entitled Rees R. & Sydney Jones. He represented the Mount Morgan syndicate in the appeal to the Privy Council over the 'jumping' cases, and in 1886 when the Mount Morgan Gold Mining Co. Ltd was registered, acquired shares and drafted its memorandum and articles of association. In his criminal practice he defended the murderer T.J.A. Griffin and appeared for the prisoner Palmer in the Halligan murder case of 1869. In the latter case his defiance of the magistrate in defence of his client's interests enhanced his reputation.

After failure in Clermont and Rockhampton in 1883 Jones won the North Rockhampton seat in the Legislative Assembly in 1888 as a member of the McIlraith faction. He supported the separation of central Queensland in the 1891 debate on the provincial legislatures bill but usually spoke only on matters of interest to lawyers or to his electorate. He resigned just before the 1893 general election. Jones was a bon vivant and a brilliant conversationalist, whose chief interests were mathematics and Australian history. He published pamphlets entitled Gold Mining in Central Queensland and the Mount Morgan Mine (1913), The Merino Sheep in Australia (1914), and Souvenir of Emu Park, Emu Park and its Early History (1915), which moved the (Royal) Queensland Historical Society to confer life membership upon him. Before it could be granted, he contracted cancer, went to Sydney for an operation and died there on 30 December 1916. He was buried in Waverley cemetery with Presbyterian forms.

Information for this paper  was extracted from the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

 

 

 
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