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    "One of the reasons I'm enthusiastic about Boris Johnson's prime ministership is because if there was ever a cometh-the-hour, cometh-the-man moment in the recent history of this country, this is it and he is that person."    

    George Brandis, Australia's High Commissioner to the UK, speaking in Manchester at the Policy Exchange. October 2, 2019 ... Read more flatulence ... 


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    « Greg Tolhurst | Main | Letter from London »
    Friday
    Jul062018

    Lorenzo Street's passing out parade

    Street the Stockman ... The shirt of flies ... Platypus Junction ... Street the charmer ... Friend of the press ... A legacy in law and love ... The sea and the bush 

    Laurence Street and first wife Susan: wedding 1952 St Marks, Darling Point

    Laurence Street as chief justice of NSW, gave his blessing to Justinian

    When this organ first started in 1979 (can you believe it) the response from the Law Society and the Bar Association in Sydney was frosty, even hostile. 

    Ian Maughan was the executive officer of the Law Society, a Sydney Greenstreet lookalike, and he sent a memo to members on blue paper urging them on no account should they speak to reporters from Justinian

    Free speech wasn't much on the agenda in those times. 

    The Bushie: Golden Valley

    By some oversight the editor received an invitation to a big Law Society knees-up at the Wentworth Hotel, only to be met on arrival by some pompous conveyancer and member of the LS council suggesting it was not appropriate for Justinian to be at the dinner. 

    Lorenzo the Magnificent, looking like Rudolph Valentino, was standing nearby, heard what was going on, and leapt in to say that it was entirely appropriate for the affairs of the profession to be reported upon and the editor should enter. 

    Bravo Lorenzo. 

    He liked journalists and was open to their phone calls, enjoying nothing better than to shoot the breeze about politics and affairs. 

    It's unimaginable that any of today's crop of judges would be so engaging. He was ready made for the stint he did as chairman of John Fairfax Holdings.  

    He also had a wicked sense of humour. After the state funeral on Thursday (July 5), over chicken sandwiches and champagne at the State Library, one eminent retired judge told Justinian that some time back he was at a dinner, seated between John Marsden, the famous gay solicitor, and a well known femme fatale at the bar, whose name we dare not mention. 

    Sir Laurence, who was at the end of the table, passed down a note to the eminent one. "If you feel a hand on your leg, you won't know which way to look." 

    HH Sandy Street: a tribute

    His son Sandy Street, (aka His Hon Judge Alexander Street of the Federal Circuit Court) paid tribute at the Opera House service. He talked about his father's less well known side as a bushman: 

    "I would take you on a brief merry dance as to Laurence - the father and Bushy, and the adventures we had with him, in his worn 'baggy pirate gear' in a beautiful piece of sunburnt country, called Golden valley on the Wollondilly River. 

    On a sweating chestnut Stallion, in a hand-greased American Western saddle, and homemade reins, rode a stockman with no shirt, except the sheet of flies, out into an untouched paddock, named the Far Run, to the rhythmic chain-saw competition of cicadas, where the wedge-tailed eagles had their eyries perched on Wombat Lookout, accompanied by his offspring, riding behind for a secret picnic spot, named Platypus Junction. 

    On the way, the Bushy rescued, off the top strand of a barb wire fence, a little sugar glider, nurtured it back to health, with segmented woodworms, and returned it to its home. 

    That stallion, Doctor, was lunged and broken from a colt by that Bushy. The stallion would come when called by that Bushy, who then would then ride him around the paddocks, mustering cattle, often without any reins or saddle, and on occasions holding onto Doctor's mane, swimming into the Hill Paddock Dam to escape the heat. 

    The Bushy tried to fatten weeners and sell them as forward stores in good seasons. We lost nearly all the beloved horses in a bushfire in 1979. Like most Bushies he battled fires, floods and droughts and would tell us around a campfire about stars in the Milky Way, and night sky navigation. 

    The Bushy taught his offspring bushcraft, bush songs or at least that is what I thought his repetition of Flanders and Swan constituted, a love of nature in all her untameable diversity, as well as the hardships, joys and beauty, in the rainbow of country life."

    See: Sandy Street's tribute in full 

    Laurence Street came from an era that is now largely unrecognisable in today's Australia. There's much else that can be written about this smart, accomplished, complex and dashing man, but for now we'll leave it there. 

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