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Broad, Edmund George (Eddie) (1921–1993)

by Helen Jeffcoat

This article was published online in 2017

Edmund George Broad (1921–1993), judge and sports administrator, was born on 3 January 1921 at Corinda, Brisbane, younger son of Herbert William Broad, an English-born warehouse manager, and his Queensland-born wife Nellie, née Reeve. After Sherwood State School, Eddie attended The Southport School (1934–38), where he was head prefect in 1937 and 1938 and dux in his final year. He also displayed outstanding sporting prowess, gaining colours for cricket, rugby, tennis, rowing, and athletics. In 1939 he enrolled at the University of Queensland. Awarded a Blue for cricket in 1941, he was described in a newspaper article as one of Brisbane’s most promising left-hand batsmen.

The outbreak of World War II interrupted Broad’s studies. He enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) on 2 March 1941 and, having qualified as a pilot, was commissioned in October. Arriving in Britain in February 1942, he suffered the exasperation of being employed at first on instructional, rather than operational, duties. From August 1944 to May 1945 he served in No. 467 Squadron, flying Lancaster bombers in thirty missions over Europe. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (1945) for his ‘Outstanding leadership, courage and devotion to duty’ in pressing home attacks (NAA A12372). On two flights to Europe following his last bombing sortie, he brought former prisoners of war back to Britain. After returning to Brisbane, he was demobilised on 7 December as a temporary squadron leader.

Broad worked in his father’s merchant business as a clerk and then sales manager. On 12 January 1946 at St Agatha’s Catholic Church, Clayfield, he married Elaine Moira O’Mara; they would be divorced in 1978. He had represented the RAAF at cricket in England but after the war concentrated on rugby. A fly-half, he took part in the Wallabies’ tours of Britain, France, Ireland, and North America (1947–48) and of New Zealand (1949); the one Test match he played was in Sydney in 1949, against the New Zealand Māori team (later, Māori All Blacks). With financial help from his father, he returned in 1953 to full-time study at the University of Queensland (BA, 1954; LLB, 1955), where he presided (1954) over the students’ union. His appointment to the executive of the organising committee for the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne recognised his leadership skills and sporting excellence.

Admitted to the Bar on 15 December 1955, Broad began private practice in chambers with (Sir) Walter Campbell and Charles Sheahan, who advised and encouraged him and allowed him to use their libraries. He learned much as junior counsel to Dan Casey and (Sir) Harry Gibbs. In 1962 he defended Hendrikus Plomp, who was convicted of murder. The High Court of Australia upheld the conviction and used the case to expound the law relating to circumstantial evidence. The next year Broad appeared alone for the appellant before the High Court in Voli v Inglewood Shire Council. His success in this case, subsequently a much-cited authority in the law of torts, was testament to his incisive forensic skills. Between 1964 and 1968 he served as an examiner for the Solicitors’ Board and as editor of Queensland Reports; he later emphasised the value of editorship as good training for lawyers.

On 13 February 1968 Broad was appointed an acting judge of District Courts of Queensland and on 23 May the appointment was made permanent. On the bench, he developed a reputation for courtesy and patience. Some of his colleagues were critical of his involvement in other activities, observing that sometimes they were to the detriment of his principal duties. He was the judge (1974–91) of the Licensing Court of Queensland and a member of the Courts-Martial Appeal Tribunal (1976–85) and its successor, the Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal (1985–91). In addition, he chaired the Mental Health Review Tribunal (1975–85) and the Patient Review Tribunals (1985–91), considering this role—supervising the detention and treatment of mentally ill persons—as the highlight and most useful part of his working life. From 1981 to 1985 he chaired the Brisbane Visitors and Convention Bureau. On 3 January 1991 he reached the mandatory judicial retirement age.

Thereafter, Broad continued his lifelong enthusiasm for horse racing. He had played a leading part in the sport’s administration since his election to the committee of the Brisbane Amateur Turf Club in 1948. As chairman (1974–93), he oversaw many improvements. The club’s sale in 1982 of the failing Albion Park racecourse generated finance to modernise the Doomben course and provide it with a large public grandstand. In 1985 he succeeded in achieving the payment of a levy towards racetrack maintenance from the Totalisator Administration Board of Queensland. His strong belief in sponsorship for race meetings enabled prize money to be boosted considerably during his tenure. He was one of the first administrators to use the social side of racing as a marketing tool, and he was at the forefront of the movement to admit women as full members of the club. Consequently, membership doubled under his stewardship.

In partnership with the businessman Jim Kennedy, the politician (Sir) James Killen, and others, Broad was a keen owner of racehorses. Linda Jones rode their horse Pay The Purple to victory in the 1979 Labour Day Cup at Doomben. Their mounts Wellington Road and Ballock won the 1984 Toowoomba Cup and the 1987 Sydney Turf Club Silver Slipper Stakes respectively. Broad was a skilled and enthusiastic bridge player; the Queensland Bridge Association instituted the Judge Eddie Broad trophy for the State open pairs competition.

On 22 January 1979 at the general registry office, Brisbane, Broad had married Jill Anderson, née Rodgers, a divorcee. Blessed with good looks, he seemed a man on whom the sun shone. Having been one of the fortunate bomber pilots to finish the war unscathed, he had risen high in his profession, and had been able to pursue his private interests to the full. He credited ‘long-term planning and a healthy dose of good luck as his secret of success’ (Haffke 1991, Extra 3). He died on 30 December 1993 at Kangaroo Point, Brisbane, and, following a Catholic funeral, was buried in Pinaroo lawn cemetery, Aspley. His wife survived him, as did the three daughters and two of the three sons of his first marriage. Killen eulogised him as a ‘quiet, reflective man,’ whose life exemplified the teaching in the Book of Proverbs: ‘Before honour is humility’ (1994, 11).

Research edited by Darryl Bennet

Select Bibliography

  • Beanland, Denver. A Court Apart: The District Court of Queensland. Brisbane: Supreme Court of Queensland Library, 2009
  • Broad, Jill. Personal communication
  • Broad, Michael. Personal communication
  • Haffke, Carol. ‘Life of Action.’ Sunday Sun (Brisbane), 19 May 1991, Extra 3
  • Killen, James. ‘Humble War Hero Who Rose to the Highest Rank of Law.’ Australian, 11 January 1994, 11
  • McGuire, Frederick. Personal communication
  • National Archives of Australia. A12372, O16146
  • Shanahan, Patrick. Personal communication
  • Sinclair, Bart. ‘Judge Rules on Racing: Verdict Favours Punters.’ Sunday Mail (Brisbane), 27 December 1992, 82
  •   Supreme Court of Queensland Library, Brisbane. Biographical Folder Edmund Broad

Additional Resources

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

Helen Jeffcoat, 'Broad, Edmund George (Eddie) (1921–1993)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/broad-edmund-george-eddie-18185/text29755, published online 2017, accessed online 23 September 2019.

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