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Cyril Walter Davies (1889–1971)

by R. G. Bailey

This article was published:

Cyril Walter Davies (1889-1971), solicitor, was born on 13 April 1889 at Malvern, Melbourne, son of Walter Davies, solicitor, and his wife Adelaide Frances Emily, née Fox, both Victorian born. Walter was a half-brother of (Sir) John, George, Joseph and (Sir) Matthew Davies. Educated at Melbourne Church of England Grammar School and the University of Melbourne (LL.B., 1911), Cyril won a Blue for lacrosse and was admitted as a barrister and solicitor in 1913. Having worked in his father's practice, on 2 March 1914 he joined the Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department as a clerk in the crown solicitor's office. On 18 May 1920 in his school chapel Cyril married Sigrid Elise Margrette (d.1964), daughter of H. K. Dannevig; they were to remain childless.

Promoted senior clerk (property) in 1924, Davies represented his office that year at the auction of land-leases in the Federal Capital Territory. In 1925 he transferred to Canberra to open an office of the crown solicitor. His principal duties were to provide legal advice to the Federal Capital Commission, to review and draft ordinances, and to act as registrar of titles. By 1927 he had returned to private practice: through successive partnerships, his firm was to become Davies Bailey & Cater, one of the largest in Canberra. Davies was appointed a notary public in 1929, and lectured part time at Canberra University College in 1931 and 1934. An accomplished legal draftsman, he formulated documents relating to conveyancing, wills and companies which continue to provide useful precedents.

In April 1933 Davies was one of the founders of the Law Society of the Territory for the Seat of Government (Law Society of the Australian Capital Territory). The society was established with the objectives of improving the quality of legislation and facilitating the professional business of solicitors practising in the territory. Davies served as vice-president (1933) and president (1936-64). He was a charter member of the Canberra Rotary Club and acted as honorary solicitor to a number of service organizations, among them the Canberra Returned Soldiers' Club. A foundation member (1954) of the Commonwealth Club, he also belonged to the Canberra Club (president 1953), of which he was made a life member. In the 1950s he deputized at meetings of the A.C.T. Advisory Council.

Davies was a slim, active man who enjoyed tennis, parties and snooker. A doyen of the territory's private legal profession, he loved his work and was devoted to it. After his formal retirement in 1965 he continued as a consultant with his firm for six years. He died on 18 December 1971 in Canberra Hospital and was buried in Canberra cemetery.

Select Bibliography

  • H. E. Renfree, History of the Crown Solicitor's Office (Canb, 1970)
  • J. Gibbney, Canberra 1913-1953 (Canb, 1988)
  • Canberra Times, 21 Dec 1971
  • Federal Capital Commission, Annual Report, 1925, 1926
  • R. J. Linford, History of the Law Society of the A.C.T. (1933-1983) (typescript, held by the Law Society of the Australian Capital Territory).

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

R. G. Bailey, 'Davies, Cyril Walter (1889–1971)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1993, accessed online 18 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 13, (Melbourne University Press), 1993

View the front pages for Volume 13

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