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Our History



J. J. Carroll publishes his first ad in The Sydney Morning Herald.



J. J. Carroll sets up his practice on Elizabeth Street.

”I, John Joseph Carroll, residing at Darling Street, Dubbo… intend to apply to be admitted as Attorney, Solicitor and Proctor of this Honourable Court.”

J. J. Carroll


The Federation of Australia.


J. J. Carroll defends agroup of Chinese men charged with illegally selling Pak-a-Pu lottery tickets.

“The game they were playing was ‘Tuen-gow’, which sounded very terrible, but it was really only a game of dominoes.”

J. J. Carroll



Chinese man, Lee Sing’s capital sentence is commuted to life imprisonment after J.J. Carroll conveys a petition signed by a group of Sydney merchants to the Minister of Justice.


Canberra it is!


World War I begins.


J. J. Carroll appears for a group of Chinese gardeners arrested and charged with being prohibited immigrants.


J. J. Carroll acts for two Chinese market gardeners who successfully sue the Alexandria Municipal Council for damage to their garden.


Sydney Harbour Bridge opens.


Australia enters World War II.


The Firm merged with the practice of Cecil O’Dea who had been admitted as a Solicitor in 1929 and had been practising in his own right in Park Street and then in Martin Place. The firm became J. J. Carroll, Cecil O’Dea & Co.


World War II ends.


The Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric project begins.


J. J. Carroll, Cecil O’Dea & Co. win compensation for widows of workmen killed in the Burrinjuck Dam disaster.

The following month the firm win compensation for a Latvian widow of another man who died in the same disaster.


£22,000 is awarded to miners blinded in an explosion on the Snowy River project.

The firm also wins compensation for Aldo Rossi of Kogarah, who lost sight in his right eye in the same explosion.


Albert Peter Eade of Griffith was awarded £30,000 compensation after his leg was blown off in a dynamite explosion.

These victories were remarkable for their time. Back then, if workers died or were injured at work, employers did not have to compensate their family.


Women are granted equal pay.

The firm changed its name to Carroll & O’Dea.


Sydney Opera House opens.

The firm acted for a boy, Rodney John Cooper of South Marulan, successfully suing the Southern Portland Cement after he lost his right arm touching a 33,000 V electric cable on their property. Representing Cooper in court, Ray Loveday QC put forward the argument that even though the children were trespassers, the company still owed them a duty of care, given that it knew that they regularly played on the sand hills on its property.

“But Mr Loveday, if what you say is true, it would mean that everyone who has a swimming pool would have to put a fence around it!”

Appeal Judge



In a landmark case, the firm represented L. Shaddock in an action against Parramatta City Council after it had given him incorrect advice that a property he was buying would not be affected by proposed road widening schemes.

“We’re going to win. And if we don’t win, I won’t charge you.”

Michael O’Dea


The High Court delivers the Mabo decision.


Partner, Maithri Panagoda, acted for the family of Mark Anthony Quayle, who died in police custody in Wilcannia. It was the first Aboriginal death in custody case in Australia.

Since then, Maithri Panagoda has run three other cases related to Aboriginal deaths in custody, winning compensation for the families in each case.


Stolen Generation victim, Christopher Johnson sues the Department of Community Services. At age four, he was removed from his family and ‘committed by an order of the Children’s Court to the care of the Minister for Community Services’.

“These were difficult cases. Mainly because of the time problem… You’ve got to recreate the history. But it’s very, very satisfying at the end of the day.”

Maithri Panagoda


Rouse Hill Town Centre is developed with General Property Trust to accommodate the growing North West population. The firm is involved with the high density Green Star rated community hub.


The Federal Government apologises to the Stolen Generations.

Australia’s first female Governor-General, Quentin Bryce is sworn in.

Sydney man Murat Kuru sues the police for trespassing and false imprisonment and is awarded $418,265 in damages. The Court of Appeal overturned the decision, but a year later, The High Court upheld the original decision.


Australia’s first female Prime Minister, The Hon. Julia Gillard is sworn in.

Mary MacKillop is canonised as Australia’s first Saint.


The firm works with the Green Star rated Barangaroo development. It becomes an internationally renowned mixed development on a historic site.


Joining the Primerus Network, Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers become affiliated with the world’s leading law firms in 130 cities and 40 nations.



Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers open their first office in Little Lonsdale Street located in the centre of Melbourne.

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