Joseph Hone

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Joseph Hone

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Joseph Hone held office of Master of the Supreme Court between the years 1824 and 1836 and again between 1840 and 1857. Hone, a barrister of Grays Inn, was appointed Master in Chancery for the Colony of Van Diemen's Land by Letters Patent dated 21 December 1823 at a salary of £400 per annum payable out of fees received. A despatch from Downing Street on 5 January 1824 indicated his duties as Master. He arrived in Van Diemen's Land in 1824 with his family. In 1825 his salary was increased to £600. In 1826-1827 he was also acting as Attorney-General and there is a record of him advising upon the title to a distillery near Cascades. Between the years 1831 and 1836 he held a number of other offices: Coroner, Chairman of Quarter Sessions and Chairman of the Commission for the settlement of Claims to Grants. His position as Master was regularised pursuant to the Charter of Justice in 1831. In 1836 he resigned as Master to become Commissioner for Investigation of Titles and the office was in abeyance until 1840. In 1839, the year in which both his wife and daughter died, Hone was appointed a Commissioner of the Insolvent Court, but he vacated that office in 1840 upon being reappointed as Master. The Judges and the Attorney-General had been unanimous in their conviction that the office of Master should again be filled. Hone is reported as living in Macquarie Street opposite All Saints Church in 1846. He remained Master until 1857 when the office was abolished by the Act then known as the Abolition of the Master Act but now known as the Supreme Court Act 1857. The 'Hobart Town Advertiser' of Friday 4 December 1857 stated that the object was to carry out a reduction and because the office of Master in Chancery had been abolished in England. At this time Puisne Judge Horne was President of the Legislative Council and a note in the same issue of the 'Advertiser' reported: 'Mr. Mann read a note from the President indicating that he was detained in the Supreme Court but would come to the House as soon as his duties there ended.' Hone died at Hobart in 1861 at the age of 77. The family tombstone can still be seen in St. David's Park against the Harrington Street wall.
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