A Notary Public is a legal officer of ancient standing. Notaries in Queensland apply and are awarded a Faculty for a specific local government area in Queensland but may practise elsewhere in Queensland if allowed in law.
The Notarial Faculty is awarded by the Court of Faculties London, moved by the Society of Notaries Queensland. The Notary is then commissioned by a local superior court Judge or Bishop.
The Society of Notaries Queensland was first constituted in a formal sense in about 1936. The Society continued in existence in that form until 1998 when it was incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Act 1981. However, it is likely that Queensland Notaries organised themselves as early as 1922. In that year, a register of Queensland Notaries was established.
The first entry in that Register relates to Mr Thomas Morton of Wharf Street, Maryborough who was sworn as a Notary on 9 August 1880. The Register also shows that by the turn of the century there were 11 Notaries. The same Register is used today to record Queensland Notaries and as at 4 August 1999, the total number of Notaries registered since 1880 was 354. As at that date, the number of living registered Notaries in Queensland was 148.
The original entries in the Register of Notaries appear to have been made by quill pen and the Register comes complete with its own quill pen and instructions for cutting of quills. The quills pen was made by Scriveners Company, which was founded in England in 1373.
Many of the names appearing in the Register of Notaries are still seen in the firm names of many of the oldest and most highly regarded firms of solicitors presently practising in Queensland.
Source: Society of Notaries Queensland.