They may be relics these days, but for barrister Ray Broomhall, the collection of wigs is part of a desire to retain a slice of legal history. But at the same time this barrister has successfully fought against something far more modern than the wigs of old.
As wigs are now part of legal history in most of both Australian and New Zealand courts, the Tasmanian barrister recognises that they also represent the legal characters who wore them.
Mr Broomhall said he would like to get his hands on former justice of the High Court Michael Kirby’s wig.
“I’d love to have one of his wigs — whether his barrister wig or one that he wore in the High Court. That would be to me the ultimate,” he said.
He would not put a price on how much he has spent on his unusual collection.
“It’s not the wig itself — it’s the people behind the wig,” he said.
“The story behind each wig is absolutely amazing, and they’re priceless when you think of the stories behind them.”
Taking pride of place in his collection is the wig worn by Thomas Strangman when he successfully prosecuted Indian civil rights leader Mahatma Gandhi for sedition in 1922.
“There was actually a big court case that said you can’t trade in human body parts, so barristers were walking around with human-hair wigs and they found they had to go to horsehair,” Mr Broomhall said.
While the more modern wigs follow a pattern which includes a set guide of the number of side curls for barristers and back curls for judges, each wig is subtly different.
The wigs’ individual quirks give a special insight into the wearer.
Full-bottomed wigs for judges have been phased out — even for ceremonial occasions — in Tasmania.
The now-retired wigs are still housed at the Supreme Court of Tasmania in Hobart. Registrar Jim Connolly is the keeper of Supreme Court of Tasmania judges’ wigs.
“They’re part of our legal history,” Mr Connolly said.
“These wigs are handmade. They are made of horsehair and they are fitted to the particular judge’s head that they need to adorn.
The Barrister’s Fight Against 5G
Barrister Broomhall is not just about collecting and retaining a slice of legal history however. He has also spearheaded a successful legal fight against the introduction of the 5G network in Australia with his ‘Say No’ campaign.
The basis for the Broomhall opposition to 5G is the dangers alleged to emanate from magnetic fields and he has spoken widely across Australia about the dangers and the opposition to the implementation of the 5G network.
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