History of Genders and Partners
Genders and Partners was established in 1848 and is now the oldest law firm in South Australia, and one of its most respected. It has undergone several changes of name throughout its history. Before Dr John Jefferson Bray became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia, he was a partner with this firm, which was then known as Genders Wilson & Bray. At other times it has been known as Genders Wilson & Pellew, Genders Wilson & Abbott, or Genders Wilson & Partners.
The firm began in 1848 as Smart & Wilson. This was when South Australia was still a colony, (it did not become proclaimed as a State until 1901), and is the only state in Australia that did not begin as a convict colony.
In May 1837, the South Australian Governor had appointed a solicitor named Samuel Smart as the first Sheriff of South Australia. In early 1838 Smart returned to private practice, and in May of that year, Smart was shot and wounded by a convict named Magee. Following arrest and trial, Magee became the first hanging in the colony.
On the 31st October 1839, Thomas Wilson (1787-1863), was admitted as a solicitor of the recently-formed Supreme Court of South Australia . By that date, there were only five solicitors in the whole of South Australia . After practising on his own for a few years, he went into partnership with Samuel Smart, and formed the firm of Smart & Wilson in 1848.
Very near their law chambers in Stephens Place, Adelaide were the offices of Light, Finniss & Co., founded by Colonel William Light. Colonel Light, as the first Surveyor-General, had selected the site of Adelaide, but by this time had left the Government Service. Smart & Wilson acted as the solicitors for Colonel Light’s firm.
In July 1917 Eustace Genders (1893 – 1946) was admitted to the bar and joined the firm, which was then known as Wilson & Genders (Samuel Smart having died some years earlier).
After the death of Thomas Wilson the firm was known as Genders, Wilson & Partners for most of the rest of that century, except for brief periods when the name changed to Genders, Wilson & Pellew or Genders, Wilson & Bray.
In 1994 the firm changed to its current name of Genders & Partners.