The Southern Cross : August 2011
August 2011 Page 23 www.thesoutherncross.org.au The Southern Cross obituary | "Above all else, Len King is remembered as a thoroughly decent, fair and compassionate man, whose integrity helped underpin our State's legislative and judicial evolution." Mike Rann Premier of South Australia "The Hon Len King AC QC made a very significant contribution to law and government in South Australia and beyond. As Chief Justice he was an important part of the emerging Australian national judiciary. His judgments and writings earned him wide respect in his life time and continue to be referred to today. He can properly be described as an Australian lawyer statesman. His death is a great loss to South Australia and to the law." Robert French Chief Justice of Australia "Len King was a distinguished Chief Justice. There are a number of reasons for this. He was a very able lawyer. He combined commonsense and practicality with a firm grasp of principle. He expressed his opinions clearly and concisely. He had an ability to dissect issues into their elements, and to identify the central issue. In court he was always courteous and fair, but firm. He disposed of his work promptly. He was obviously an efficient worker. Some judicial officers have some of these qualities but very few have them all, and it was because he had them all that Len King stands out as a Chief Justice." John Doyle Chief Justice of South Australia Fulham Funerals www.fulhamfunerals.com.au Just that little more attention to detail • Professional Services to suit your individual needs • Pre Paid Funeral Services available Errol Duke, Damien Grant, Jamie Grant Underdale • Paradise • Elizabeth East • Brighton Ph 8234 0506 an exceptional man The tennis crowd played tennis every Saturday in summer from 1960 until 1996. In winter they and other good friends would go to the races together. They went to the Melbourne Cup and the Warnambool Cup and they celebrated New Years Eve at great length and in fine style. They shared the joy and worries of their many children and they treated each other's children as if they were their own, with genuine love and affection. Len's love of the law and his appreciation of the power of the law to bring about change continued to develop. Not only did he maintain an active practice as a barrister, but he contributed to law reform and professional projects. In 1969, when Don Dunstan invited him to run for Parliament with a view to becoming Attorney General, he talked about being motivated by his indebtedness to the community which had enabled him to have a university education and his awareness of the powerlessness of people who had not had his opportunities. After five years as Member for Coles and Attorney General and Minister for a number of other portfolios and riding the controversies resulting from significant law and community welfare reform, Len was honoured to be appointed to the Supreme Court and later to Chief Justice, a role he fulfilled with zest until his retirement at age 70. One of Len's greatest pleasures in life was simply spending time with Sheila. Their mutual love, affection and solidarity is well known to many. They greatly enjoyed the theatre, opera and travelling, which Sheila used to say was like having a learned professional guide who could tell you about the history and the society of every place you visited. Her dementia, apparent prior to Len's retirement, was a source of great sadness to him and he supported her with deep love and care until her death in 2004. Len celebrated his 80th birthday with a long party where he was joined by old friends from his days at law school and the dances at Norwood as well as many other good friends he had made and valued through his life. They sang at the piano and Len performed his party piece, She was poor but she was honest. Later that year he had a stroke which curtailed his external activities. If ever there was any doubt about his strength of mind, the last six years showed that he truly was an exceptional person. He battled on through adversity, adapting to the restrictions placed upon him. He did not lose his intellectual vigour. He continued to read voraciously and to follow politics, cricket, the Redlegs and the races, with very active participation in the family racing syndicate. The morning papers and the evening news were an integral part of his routine to the end. His conversation continued to deal with the big political issues of the day and best you didn't turn up tired from work or you would be floundering in a debate about carbon pricing or refugee policy. Len's life was a life guided by intellect, love, compassion, strength of mind and purpose, faith and a sense of justice. He has left a legacy not only through his professional career but through the very significant influence he has had on the lives of those around him. -- Prepared by Len's family. TRIBUTES Sheila and Len King at a Melbourne Cup dinner.