The Honourable Austin Asche AC QC

The Honorable Austin Asche AC QC

Keith John Austin Asche was born in Melbourne, and spent his childhood in Darwin and Melbourne. He served with the RAAF for two years from 1944 to 1946, mostly in the Northern Territory and north-west Australia.

After World War II, Austin attended the University of Melbourne where he obtained a Bachelor of Laws and a Master of Laws. He was admitted to practice in 1950, and practised as a barrister in Queensland and Melbourne. He was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1972.

In 1976, he became a Judge of the Family Court of Australia, and was Acting Chief Judge from 1985 to 1986. In 1986, he returned to Darwin as a Judge of the Supreme Court of the NT and in 1987 was appointed Chief Justice.

In 1987, he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Literature by Deakin University, where he was Chancellor from 1983 to 1987. In 1992 he was made a Fellow of the Australian College of Education. In 1994 he received an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from the Northern Territory University (now Charles Darwin University), and was Chancellor of that university from 1989 to 1993. In 2010, he was made an Emeritus Chancellor of Charles Darwin University, and a Fellow of Trinity College, the University of Melbourne.

Austin was appointed as the 15th Administrator of the Northern Territory on 1 March 1993, a position he held until 16 February 1997. He was appointed a Knight of Grace of the order of St John in 1993. On Australia Day 1994 he was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for service to the law, to tertiary education and to the community, particularly the people of the Northern Territory. The Governor-General invested him with the insignia of this appointment at Government House, Darwin, on 17 June 1994.

Austin married Valerie James in 1958 and they have one son and one daughter. Dr Valerie Asche was a senior research fellow at the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin from 1986 to 1994.

Austin is currently the Chair of the Northern Territory Law Reform Committee.