When it came to the attention of the current CCL board that Wentworth Chambers was turning fifty, we thought it important not only to mark the occasion, but to take the opportunity to record at least a portion of the company's history. Apart from the minute book, there is little by way of a written record of the early history of the company, and the photographic record is not substantial. We have included in the booklet not only the available relics, but a photographic record of the company as it stands today. We hope, in that way, to make the task of those organising the 100th anniversary a little easier.
The establishment of the company and the construction of Wentworth and Selborne Chambers were undertakings of great resourcefulness and courage. Sir Garfield Barwick made the following observations at the ceremony to mark the opening of Wentworth Chambers held on 20 August 1957.
"This is indeed a proud and memorable day for the Bar of New South Wales, and they are pleased that many have come to rejoice with us...
By their enterprise and co-operation, a large number of its members have brought this ﬁne building into being, and have thereby given themselves security, convenience and comfort in the practice of their profession.
Accommodation had become impossible in this street, for so long the milieu of the advocate although we have not overcome the problem completely, we have reduced it.
Satisfying and important as it is to have so much of the Bar housed so close together and as close to the Courts, Mr. Premier, it is but a part of the result. For in this building the Bar has made a distinct advance in its corporate life – taken a great step forward towards having an adequate home for itself"
The benefits bestowed upon the bar and the larger community as a consequence of that undertaking have been immense. With the growth of the bar, there have emerged many other facilities for the accommodation of its members. Nevertheless, the collection under one roof in Phillip Street of thirteen floors of barristers, over a period of 50 years, has fostered the development of an extraordinarily cohesive professional community. At an individual level, over that period of fifty years, countless members of CCL have enjoyed the benefits of a supportive, collegiate environment which is perhaps unparalleled in other professional spheres.
Hopefully, this will serve as a small token of appreciation to the founders of the company, and to many others who have generously given their time over the last fifty years to the pursuit of the project that they so bravely initiated.
Counsel's Chambers Limited
Wentworth Chambers was officially opened in the afternoon of 20 August 1957 by the Honourable
J. J. Cahill, then Premier of New South Wales.
Toose Q.C. (background), The Hon W.F. Sheehan,
the Chief Justice Sir Kenneth Street.