Kirby talks about his childhood and family background; schooling at Cairns Public School; memories of WWI; boarding at The King's School, Parramatta and doing law at Sydney University. He then discusses the impact of the Depression; experiences at the bar; working from 1937-42 as a member of a group of lawyers brought together by H. V. Evatt to do union work; impact of WWII and working in the Army Education Corps. Kirby then talks about his return to the Bar in 1944 and being offered the District Court judgeship, 6 months later. He then discusses his appointment as Royal Commissioner in 1945 to inquire into the dealings by the Premier and Ministers of the Crown and others in forest lands in Tasmania and also his appointment to War Crimes Commission. He was then appointed by Federal Government to investigate the deaths of three officers in Java and in 1947 was appointed as Commonwealth Royal Commissioner into alleged misconduct by officers of Commonwealth Treasury in connection with land sales.
Kirby also discusses his appointment as Australian representative of the UN Committee of Good Offices; gives his views on Higgins, Dethridge, Beeby, Drake-Brockman and Ray Kelly and provides background on his appointment in 1956 as Chief Judge of Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration. He then discusses the role of government in industrial relations and shares some of his memories of Chifley and gives his views on Harry Bland, Harold Holt and William McMahon. Kirby also discusses his chairmanship of the Australian Stevedoring Industry Commission and his views on the shipping industry.