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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Kerferd, Hon. George Biscoe

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Kerferd, Hon. George Biscoe, late Puisne Judge, Victoria, was born in Liverpool in 1831, and in 1852 emigrated to Victoria, where he was appointed a territorial magistrate in 1856. Having engaged in business at Beechworth, he was four times mayor of the town, and was elected to Assembly in 1864. In 1867 he was called to the Victorian bar, and in 1869 was returned for the Ovens District, which he continued to represent down to the date of his retirement from politics. He was Minister for Railways and Mines, and Vice-President of the Board of Land and Works in the short-lived Sladen Ministry from May to July 1868. In the Francis Ministry he was Solicitor-General from June 10th, 1872, until the retirement of Mr. J. W. Stephen, whom he succeeded as Attorney-General on May 2nd, 1874. Two months later Mr. Francis retired, and Mr. Kerferd became Premier, still retaining the Attorney-Generalship. His ministry lasted till August of the following year, when he was defeated upon the Budget, and Mr. (now Sir) Graham Berry succeeded him without a dissolution of Parliament. In October Mr. Berry's budget proposals were discussed and defeated, and the acting Governor, Sir W. F. Stawell, refusing a dissolution, Mr. Berry resigned and Mr. Kerferd again became Attorney General, this time under Sir James M‘Culloch, holding office with his chief from Oct. 20th, 1875, until May 21st, 1877, when the result of the general elections threw the Government out of office. Mr. Kerferd's chief legal work, which was compiled in conjunction with Mr. Box, and is regarded as a standard one, was a digest of all the Supreme Court decisions between 1846 and 1871. Mr. Kerferd, who adhered to the Conservative party, was out of office till May 1880, when he became for the third time Attorney-General under Mr. Service as Premier. The Ministry only lasted till August, and Mr. Kerferd was in opposition till three years later, when he resumed his old post in the Service-Berry Coalition Government. In Jan. 1886 he resigned just a month before his colleagues, to accept a position on the Supreme Court Bench, which he continued to hold till his death on Dec. 31st, 1889.