Peter Underwood AC served the Tasmanian people with distinction during a professional life that culminated in his appointment as Tasmania's 27th Governor, a role he held from April 2008 until his death in July 2014. This followed an eminent career in the law during which he practised in Hobart before becoming a judge of the Supreme Court of Tasmania, and which culminated in his appointment as the Chief Justice in 2004.
In 2001 he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree in recognition of his services to legal education, the arts and the administration of justice. A year later he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for service to the judiciary and to the law, in particular for his work in legal reform, legal education and the mentoring of young practitioners, and to the community as a leader of cultural and artistic organisations in Tasmania. In 2009 he was made a Companion of the Order of Australia.
Mr Underwood's passion for the arts was illustrated by the decade-long tenure as Chair of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra Board, in addition to serving as director on both the Tasmanian Theatre Trust Board and the Tasmanian Arts Advisory Board.
He taught the Supreme Court Practice and Advocacy Unit at the University of Tasmania Professional Legal Training Program in addition to teaching advocacy widely in Australia and in the UK. From 1989 to 1994 he was the Chair of the Friends' School, a Quaker School located in Hobart.
Indeed, he was a passionate believer in the transformative power of education, and held the conviction that the most important infrastructure of any nation is an educated and functionally literate population.