Celebration of Thynne + Macartney's 125th Anniversary
Your Honours, Judges of the Supreme Court and the Federal Court; Thynne + Macartney Chairman of Partners, Mr Peter Jolly; Distinguished Guests; Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a truly great pleasure that I join you this evening for this celebration of the 125th anniversary of Thynne and Macartney’s establishment in Queensland.
And may I say at once how pleased I am that you are celebrating the 125th – on one view, a rather unusual anniversary. As a young-ish judge, I was intrigued when, in 1986, the Supreme Court commemorated its 125th. That happened, I can inform you, because someone – a junior barrister - stopped the then Chief Justice in the street, as the anniversary approached, and said, “The Court missed its 100th” – as was indeed the case – “So what about the 125th?”
When this remarkable partnership began in 1893, Queensland had been a separate colony for just 34 years. The Australian colonies were negotiating a path to nationhood. The Governor of Queensland was Sir Henry Norman. Queen Victoria was on the throne.
It was an exciting decade, but not an ideal time to set up a business partnership.
Among many upheavals in the 1890s, Queensland suffered crippling drought, terrible floods and an economic recession, which turned into a full-blown depression.
These events might have discouraged lesser beings. But both Andrew Thynne and Edward Macartney were clearly made of sterner stuff.
We can be sure that they spared no effort in developing their practice and its reputation, because the kind of professional longevity we are celebrating today cannot ever be an accident.
This sort of extraordinary phenomenon is built on nothing but excellence, integrity, quality of advice, legal and business acumen, and the assiduous building of a loyal client base.
And between them, these two men also made wonderful contributions to Queensland in other fields – including the shaping of the Australian Constitution, the establishment of ANZAC Day, the growth of the University of Queensland, and in politics and government.
Andrew Thynne’s image, as an architect of Federation, abides in the replicated “Smoking Room” of the “Lucinda”, now at the Maritime Museum.
Messrs Thynne’s and Macartney’s successors may or may not have signed off their letters “We are Dear Sirs, Yours Truly” … a different era, different mores - but the brilliance that is these trailblazers’ legacy has endured. I imagine that says a lot for professional independence and professional ethics.
Those who have succeeded Andrew Thynne and Edward Macartney have built on well-established foundations with wisdom, skill and dedication. They have steered the firm successfully through many decades, some even more turbulent than the 1890s.
And, remarkably, the nameplate on the firm’s offices has read ‘Thynne and Macartney’ for every one of those 125 years.
Ladies and Gentlemen, in this domain, records are not made to be broken: it is a grand name!
Though, as a pre-millennial, I did wonder for a time about the replacement of the “and” with a plus sign, but no doubt I will come to understand that.
What a combination of longevity and success, what an outstanding achievement of which the firm clearly is, and deserves to be, immensely proud.
I join you tonight in saluting all those working under the Thynne and Macartney banner who have contributed – and contribute - to the firm’s growth and development over a century and a quarter.
I was personally proud to be briefed as a barrister by the firm, and proud now that Kaye’s and my Barrister son, David, remains “in the stable”.
The firm briefed me in the 1970s, and I can assure you, Doug Spence’s expertise in defamation law very quickly outstripped mine.
I extend most warm congratulations to the partners and staff who are the current, proud custodians of the firm’s history and heritage, and of its ongoing success, now extending to partnerships and alliances that give the firm a national and international reach – and the recent need for a bigger office!
And I speak for all in wishing Thynne and Macartney every success in the future.