George Palmer


Photo: ABC News (Courtesy of Dan White)


By Georgia Briggs

If you’re an avid ABC viewer, the name George Palmer might ring a bell. Mr Palmer has just debuted his opera based on the Tim Winton novel Cloudstreet. However for the last 40 years, George Palmer has also had an exemplary legal career, which included 10 years as a NSW Supreme Court Judge.

Proving that a strong legal mind doesn’t negate creativity, Mr Palmer has been composing music for various projects for almost 13 years. Music has been a lifelong passion. His musical projects have included a live to air performance of his work in Sydney’s Eugene Goossens Hall, and being asked to compose the music to be used during Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Australia for World Youth Day in 2008.

Mr. Palmer graduated from the University of Sydney in 1970. He specialised in commercial law, becoming a partner at his firm within two years of graduation. Mr Palmer notably specialised in oil and mineral exploration law at a time when this market was quite new and becoming big in Australia. He was called to the Bar in 1974 and by 1986 was a Queen’s Counsel.

In 2001, Mr Palmer became a Supreme Court Judge, holding that office until his long passion for composing, particularly his own opera, became his overarching project. Mr Palmer studied music from childhood, composing dozens of works since his almost accidental discovery on the ABC network in 2003. The talented musician is also gradually going deaf, having lost all hearing in his right ear.