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Cite as: July 2015 89 (7) LIJ, p.08

Another legal milestone

The LIJ is a little like The New Yorker – one turns to the back pages and cartoons for the enjoyable lighter moments before heading into the deep and meaningful pages.

Your May 2015 “Beyond the law” column on the rowing lawyers caught my eye and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

On reviewing the panel listing of senior lawyers who had also rowed at a significant level, I noted that Sir James Gobbo, formerly Supreme Court Justice and Governor of Victoria, was an absentee from the list.

Sir James’ rowing exploits commenced at school where he was part of the victorious 1948 Xavier College crew which also included the late Justice Sir Norman O’Bryan who rowed immediately in front of Sir James and sat on the same appellate Court.

Sir James’ parents brought him to Australia as an infant and then returned to Italy before re-settling in Australia in 1936 when Sir James was aged six. He then finished his schooling and undergraduate studies in Melbourne and won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford.

His significant rowing prowess was in the 100th annual Cambridge and Oxford Boat Race over more than 6 kilometres. He was a member of the victorious 1954 crew rowing at three and of the not so victorious 1955 crew rowing in bow seat with the added responsibility of being president of the Oxford Boat Club.

Although not strictly representing Australia on the international competitive waters, he was one of four Australians in the Oxford boat.

In checking my faulty memory I am most grateful to Ruth Bird, Bodleian Librarian, Oxford University and formerly of Allens Arthur Robinson (now Allens Linklaters) Melbourne. Ruth gave me several useful links of which one was a Pathe Cine sound film of the 1954 race and a fascinating nostalgic piece. Sir James’ memoirs Something to Declare also covers some interesting pre and post World War ll rowing history and his own remarkable career and is written in a lively and enjoyable style. Thank you for keeping the LIJ bubbling along with important articles and also learned articles.

Thank goodness it’s still in print and not in the cloud.

John Macmillan, partner, Phillips & Wilkins
Letter from Helsinki

It was with great delight that I learned that I had received this LIV sponsored award for legal research. I was very nervous about undertaking this particular subject. Legal research can seem an almost impossible task given the apparently infinite number of sources and the strange idea that you must find something to contribute to this infinite pool. Despite this, I found the semester long research an incredibly rewarding experience, and interesting exercise.

As an exchange student currently studying in Finland at the University of Helsinki, this award will be very valuable in contributing to my expenses over here. I have learned much about the law of other jurisdictions and other legal cultures. I have been exposed to many legal traditions that are so different to our common law one, in particular the unique structure of the European Union and its laws. After this year, I intend to practise as a lawyer, with the ultimate aspiration to go to the Bar and engage in further study. Thank you for this honour. I am truly grateful.

Lisette Stevens is a University of Melbourne JD student and a winner of the Law Institute of Victoria Award for Legal Research in the Melbourne JD.t
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