Tag Archives: Dally Messenger III

Raoul de Crespigny Tunbridge OAM (1927-2019)

Raoul de Crespigny Tunbridge (1927-2019)

Raoul de Crespigny Tunbridge’s death on August 1, 2019 closed the book on a celebrated and highly successful career in general medical practice lasting over sixty years. For forty of these years he was also a designated Aviation Medical Examiner, holding a commercial pilot’s licence in his own right since 1979.

A significant contributor to the improvement of national and state based medical services, Raoul Tunbridge held key appointments in the Commonwealth sphere, the Health Department of Victoria, the Metropolitan Ambulance Service and the Victorian Academy of General Practice. On Australia Day in 1990 he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to medicine and for the creation of the Victorian State Disaster Plan.

Raoul de Crespigny Tunbridge was born on 15 May 1927. This was two years before the crash of Wall Street and the beginning of the Great Depression. His father Walter had been a member of the famous Light Horse Regiment in World War 1, and later on a pilot with the Australian Flying Corp.  

His mother Lorna was a vivacious woman and was involved in the publicity and administration of performances for the National Theatre in Melbourne. Raoul had fond memories of his young life, a life of great celebrity parties guested with opera singers and colourful theatre people.

He was a distinguished alumnus of Caulfield Grammar School, It was the only school he ever attended. At CGS he was a prefect, a dedicated cadet, and the founder of a very successful music club.

He graduated from Melbourne University as a medical practitioner i.e. Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, in December 1952. In late 1952 he was appointed Registrar of the Prince Henry Hospital in Melbourne – a position he held for two years.

He had a close relationship with his younger sister Barbara. William Grice, one of his best friends from school, married Barbara and so became his brother-in-law. 

As a door stop GP, he first  practised  in Traralgon (1955), then established and practised at the highly successful Langton Medical Centre in Dandenong (1965-1980), later relocating to Mt Eliza (1980-1990) and Towerhill at Frankston (1990-2000). In his semi-retirement he was part of the Collins St Medical Practice (2000-2014) and Southend Medical in Hampton (2014-2015). He ceased work at 88 years of age.

Raoul took it for granted that a professional in society should go over and above the call of duty and voluntarily donate a substantial amount of quality time to organisations, which contributed to the good of society as a whole. He was, for example, a foundation member of Rotary International in Dandenong East.

These were the days before Medibank and Medicare when general practitioners were known as “physicians and surgeons” and did most of the procedures now done by specialists. I recall that frequently he would leave his surgery at Langton to head for the operating theatre at the Dandenong Hospital. 

He was a great supporter of the Dandenong Hospital where he was, inter alia, President of the Committee of Management, Medical Director, and Director of Emergency Services. 

My other memory of Raoul Tunbridge were that those who did not have any money were not billed. In these days before Medibank (1974) and Medicare those in personal difficulties were looked after pro bono by the medical profession.

His leadership roles included Chairman of Obstetrics at Monash University (1965-1973), President of the Board of Management of the the Metropolitan Ambulance Service (1986-1993), and CEO of the Victorian Academy of General Practice (1984-1994). The last included flying his plane to hospitals all over Victoria supervising and mentoring medical post graduates.

He is best known for his work in establishing Displan – the Medical Disaster Plan for Victoria, for which he received the OAM. Throughout Victoria, Raoul organised over fifty medical response groups who would be prepared “first responders” in the event of an earthquake, a train, bus or plane crash, a terrorist bombing – you name it. He also wrote the Australian Emergency Manual for Disaster Medicine which was to be the handbook text for his successors.

Raoul’s favourite vocation was as an accredited medical assessor of health and fitness for pilots. By law all airmen have to front up for their prescribed regular medical checkups. As a pilot himself it was a work he loved. These clients loved him too. 

Dr Nathan Koch, represented the airmen who formed a guard of honour at his funeral. Koch stated that they always felt they not only fronted a skilled and knowledgeable medico, but a supportive person and their advocate with, at times, a somewhat capricious and ignorant public service.

On his 90th birthday at the Sandringham Yacht Club the grateful pilots saluted and honoured him with an eight plane flypast.

Raoul Tunbridge had, by any standard, a laudable record as husband, father, grandfather, and loyal friend. As his son Nicholas said at his funeral.

I asked him once what he would pass on to anyone who respected his life experiences. His answer was persistence. – “Nick, it’s so important to just keep going, never stop – and if something goes wrong, fix the bloody thing, and if you can’t fix it, then forget it and move on.” 

Raoul’s skills, ethics and dedication were a remarkable contribution to us all and to his society. He has passed on. The lives of us all, and those who knew loved and admired him must be diminished.

Raoul Tunbridge is survived by his wife of 38 years, Christine,  her daughter Kate and children, and  Raoul’s sons Anthony, Nicholas and David  from his first marriage to Brenda, and their spouses and children.

By his close personal friend Dally Messenger assisted by Christine Tunbridge and Nicholas Tunbridge.

Barry Cohen – Minister in the Whitlam Government & Peter Paul and Mary

Barry Cohen, Minister for the Arts in the Whitlam Government

Barry Cohen and an Early Memory 

The year was 1967. Lawrie O’Malley and Tony Sheridan had decided to help  a suave looking young man gain preselection for the seat of Robertson in NSW for the ALP.

My clearest recollection is when we went with Barry to the Wyong and then the The Entrance ALP Branch. There were about 30 members of each Branch where Barry presented his case. We then headed off to another branch – it could have been Gosford – to do the same thing.

Lawrie O’Malley was Cohen’s close friend. They were both in the retail rag trade together. Tony Sheridan, a Labor idealist, was his campaign manager.

Barry had been active in campaigning for the recognition of aborigines.

Barry was the person who invited Peter, Paul and Mary to perform in Sydney to support the aboriginal cause. The performance was held at the Sydney Boxing Stadium in Rushcutters Bay on May 16, 1967.

Peter, Paul and Mary
Folk Singers of the 1950s and 1960s

I clearly remember the advertisements emphasising  the technological wonder of the rotating stage (1) which had replaced the boxing ring. Barry, being a promoter of the event, had as many free tickets as he wanted, so a few of our friends and ALP members, got to see these world top artists, which normally we would never been able to afford. I had a free trip as well from Gosford to Sydney in Barry’s car.

Peter Paul and Mary gave a wonderful concert – singing Bob Dylan songs (“The Times they are a Changin” “If I Had a Hammer” and others). They divided the audience of thousands into three sections to sing in harmony – “Rock my Soul in the Bosom of Abraham”. An unforgettable experience.  Paul Stookey made short speech about respecting Australian Aborigines. Eleven days later the people passed the referendum on the recognition of the Aboriginal people as humans and citizens.

After the performance a few of us were invited backstage with Barry to meet the big three. Peter and Paul went elsewhere but Mary Travers invited us to walk with her up to Kings Cross for supper. Imagine my emotional excitement when Mary took my arm and said: “You are walking with me”. Barry, Lawrie,  and Tony were lagging behind us. The only time I ever upstaged Barry Cohen.

The Whitlam government was elected in 1972. In the middle eighties when I was editor of Dance Australia, Barry Cohen, then Minister for the Arts, gave me a great deal of support. At the ADAMS (Awards by Dance Australia Magazine) he made a wonderful crafted speech, comparing the art of the dancer and the art of my Rugby League grandfather; he described them as kindred artists, and how top sportsmen were all part of the artistic phenomenon of “poetry in motion”. When I watched Billy Slater, years later, I reflected on how right he was.

Goodbye, Barry, Great contribution. (B.C. d. Dec 18, 2017 @82)

Dally Messenger III

The rotating stage can be clearly seen in this youtube  clip – pause it at the zoom out. – https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=292&v=losVqlC3xpU

2. http://www.peterpaulandmary.com/history/tb2.htm

At one concert Peter got the audience to sing “Rock My Soul,” and the noise of stamping feet at the end of the song, a sign of high approval, woke up Mary’s husband Barry napping in the dressing room, who thought a riot had broken out.

3.  The Aboriginal Referendum took place on 27 May 1967

4.  www.peterpaulandmary.com/history/tb2.htm

5. (Thanks to Matthew Holle and Jenny Ficarra of the Sydney Living Museum, here are all the dates when Peter Paul and Mary performed in Sydney.)

According to Michael De Looper, PP&M played at the Stadium 5 times over 4 years. –http://australianrecordlabels.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/AUSTRALIAN-TOURS-1954-1975.pdf
May 29th 1964
 August 25th 1965
 May 16th and 18th 1967
 August 10th 1968




Lionel Murphy: A man who made life better for all of us.

Lionel Murphy was a man admired, even adored, by almost everyone who knew him.  (The Age – “Murphy papers’ release gives controversy fresh legs” -15-9-2017) Talk to his personal staff, the public servants he won over, or any of his wide range of friends and acquaintances and what do you find? No one who didn’t think he was top of the pops. Lionel Murphy dripped concern for his fellow human beings, as much as today’s leading politicians drip opportunism and expediency.
But he did attract the anger of the upper classes. They loved the old divorce laws as much as they love dirty coal power stations today. (“The destruction of marriage”). He fought long and hard for no-fault divorce, he abolished capital punishment, he established legal aid, he made women and aborigines civil celebrants, and frequently dissented from Garfield Barwick and the other judges on the High Court.
You don’t do those sorts of things without experiencing a backlash from those born to rule.
But let me pick up one part of your story. Even the establishment Royal Commission rejected 21 of the 41 “allegations” on first reading. So these absurd allegations – that he was a soviet spy, that he had Swiss bank accounts full of money etc. were dismissed.
My question is – who made these patently false allegations? What are their names? Why have they escaped punishment? So only 14 of the 41 allegations made their way onto the final agenda – the worst of which seem to be the words – “What about my little mate?“. Why is Lionel Murphy held to this absurd standard? Donald Trump tweets worse several times a day.
Instead of this outrageous anonymous innuendo, why not read scholar and historian Dr Jennifer Hocking’s carefully researched and admirable book on Lionel Murphy – and drink in the true story of a truly great man.
Dally Messenger III

from MUNGO MacCALLUM. (courtesy John hill)
Murphy was a political giant, a man of voracious appetites on many levels.

Sydney Morning Herald
18 September 2017

Murphy may have been flawed, but he was a flawed colossus, a Labor hero. Whatever his peccadillos, history has already redeemed him.  

Thirty years after his death, the archivists have exhumed Lionel Murphy, the incomparable Attorney-General from Gough Whitlam’s government.

Or rather they have not attempted to exhume the man, but only the raft of accusations that dogged him to his early grave.

Many of these were absurd, fanciful to the extent that even his toughest critics admit that they were obvious fabrications. But others have been given some credibility. This is unsurprising because Murphy was never the conventional figure his position, both as a cabinet minister and a high court judge, supposedly demanded.

Murphy was a political giant , a man of voracious appetites on many levels. He craved power and achieved it; but along with his ambition he also loved food, wine, and good company, especially that of attractive women. This infuriated many of his less successful colleagues, who could never understand what they saw in a man who was, let’s be frank, no oil painting; he was once slandered as a puce-nosed jackal.

But Murphy had charm, wit and a blazing intelligence: he considered himself Whitlam’s intellectual superior, partly on the grounds that while his leader had studied arts and law, Murphy had pursued the more arduous pairing of science and law. He was something of a polymath, a man of boundless curiosity and utterly fearless about where it might take him.

And this was the trouble. In his youth he had made some friendships that appeared harmless at the time but were regarded as dubious or worse when he achieved high office. But Murphy, being Murphy, refused to abandon them and at times, in open defiance of those who counseled discretion, even flaunted them.

There was, and is, no serious suggestion of corruption in the normal sense, but there was a feeling that he had crossed the line where cronyism became at the very least inappropriate. And so his enemies pounced, and there were plenty of them.

Whitlam, who had always regarded him as an unwelcome rival, hoped that he had disposed of him by agreeing to his appointment to the high court, to the fury of its then chief justice, the previous Liberal attorney-general Garfield Barwick. But when leaked illegal phone taps appeared in the Melbourne Age, one of which referred to Murphy talking about the overly colourful solicitor Morgan Ryan as “my little mate,” the shit hit the fan.

One trial convicted Murphy and an appeal cleared him, but then further stories emerged and a new inquiry was opened, only to close when it was revealed that Murphy had terminal cancer. And it was the subject of this second inquiry that had the voyeurs of the media salivating last week.

There were allegations but none of them were tested, let alone proved. But enough mud has stuck for some commentators to claim that Murphy would have been struck from the High Court for proven misbehaviour if the case had continued.

Personally, I doubt it: the Murphy I know was certainly indiscreet, even outrageous, but he was above all a lawyer and a bloody good one. I do not believe that he would risk his career and reputation, which remains that of one of the great reformers of Australian politics.

Murphy may have been flawed, but he was a flawed colossus, a Labor hero. Whatever his peccadillos, history has already redeemed him.

More than three decades after being sealed by Parliament, secret allegations levelled against the late Lionel Murphy QC have been described as a tawdry and repetitive exercise to cast doubt on the legacy of the former High Court judge.

New documents released by federal Parliament have returned the spotlight on one of the most controversial political and judicial scandals in Australian history. But the veracity of the archives and what they can add to our understanding of the truth remains contentious.

The Class A Records relate to a 1986 aborted parliamentary inquiry into improper misconduct allegations against the late Lionel Murphy QC (pictured). The former High Court judge and attorney-general, who served in two Whitlam governments, died from terminal cancer in October that same year.

In 1986, the Hawke government legislated to repeal the commission inquiring into various allegations of improper conduct and sealed the associated documents outlining the allegations against the judge for 30 years. That time period expired in 2016 and last week thousands of pages of declassified files were made public.

Lionel Murphy is the only High Court judge to have been subject to a parliamentary investigation that may have resulted in his removal from the bench under Section 72 of the Constitution for “proved misbehaviour or incapacity”.

Historians, academics, journalists and legal pundits have been poring over the declassified files to get a better sense of how these new details add to what is already known about the sensational controversy the High Court judge was embroiled in the three years leading up to his death. He passed away aged 64.

Professor Jenny Hocking, the author of Lionel Murphy – A Political Biography, told Lawyers Weekly that it was incorrect to describe the latest tranche of documents as some final chapter to the affair. She admonished recent media commentary which implied the details of the allegations put to the commission of inquiry offered any kind of “final chapter” to Lionel Murphy’s legacy.

“The documents are, in fact, just the beginning of another episode of what is now another tawdry, repetitive search for error on Murphy’s part. There is no truth in those documents on their own,” Professor Hocking said.

“It is impossible to draw the truth, certainly from these documents because they are only the beginning of a commission of inquiry,” she said.

Writing for The Conversation, legal academic Professor Andrew Lynch said that the release of the documents would “reopen old debates and inevitably lead to fresh appraisals of Lionel Murphy’s life and career”. His assessment of documents conclude that it would have been untenable for the judge to remain on the bench but underscores that the commission did not have an opportunity to complete its inquiry.

“The records bring vividly to life the controversy that by mid-1986 swirled ceaselessly around Murphy. There are 41 separate files of allegations against the judge, as well as a general file of ‘accusations and letters of support’,” Professor Lynch said.

The legal academic from the University of New South Wales explained that a number of the allegations in these achieved files canvassed similar ground to the issues that were probed in two separate Senate committee inquiries two years prior in 1984, and the subsequent criminal trials of which the judge was ultimately acquitted of any wrongdoing.

Professor Lynch added however that some of the Class A allegations did raise new claims of illegal or improper conduct. These included an allegation of attempted bribery of Commonwealth officers or urging them to breach duties of non-disclosure. He also noted an allegation that the judge had tried to get a senior AFP policeman to act as an inside informant to the Australian Labor Party (ALP).

Not only have the new public documents raised further questions about Lionel Murphy’s “complex” legacy, but the information has also gone some way to illustrating the scandalous nature of politics in 1980s Australia, Professor Lynch suggested.

Of those allegations which were set aside by the commissioners (comprising three retired judges who were appointed to the role) Professor Lynch listed a range of what he called “outlandish” claims, “reheated from years earlier and already known to be baseless”.

“These included allegations of tax avoidance, improper use of travel entitlements that Murphy accessed through his wife’s work as a travel consultant with Ethiopian Airlines, the provenance of a diamond owned by Mrs Murphy, and, an all-too predictable conspiracy theory given the times – that the judge was a Soviet spy and a member of an espionage ring operating in Canberra,” Professor Lynch said.

The question remains, to what extent can any of the 14 allegations against Lionel Murphy revealed in the past week better inform the historical record.

According to Professor Hocking, the fact that the commission’s work was never finalised is an important issue that must be considered. She noted that another thing to bear in mind was that the parliamentary commission terms of reference were remarkably broad and allowed for allegations against Lionel Murphy to be made in an open slather fashion.

“They were literally inviting people to come forward with any material from any time of Lionel Murphy’s life about any aspect of his life. There was a lot of criticism at the time that the terms of reference were not confined, that they were very broad and literally invitations to allege,” Professor Hocking said.

“You have to remember also that Murphy had already been through three such inquiries, two of them being the senate inquiries (in 1984), which both found the original material being inquired into, couldn’t be substantiated as verifiable material.”

The original material Professor Hocking describes is a series of telephone conversations, secretly recorded and transcribed by NSW Police and then leaked to journalists at The Age. The newspaper then used these transcripts to report that a judge and solicitor had discussed a range of potentially criminal matters, as well as raise the suggestion that the pair had ties to criminal groups.

One tape in The Age tapes supposedly identified Murphy under parliamentary privilege as the judge involved in the reported scandal. He was also accused of attempting to influence other judges who were presiding over a matter that involved forgery and conspiracy charges against solicitor Morgan Ryan, who later famously became referred to as Murphy’s “little mate”.

“There’s a real question mark over that very early material,” Professor Hocking said.

The Monash University academic said that she believed when a determination had been made to discredit The Age tapes, that is where the saga should have ended. But indeed, it continued and resulted in what she described was an unprecedented “reputational inquiry after inquiry”. She added that the shocking, targeted use of Parliament and courts to pursue the High Court judge cannot be removed from the political circumstances of the time.

“There were determined efforts to remove Lionel Murphy from the bench and you cannot separate out the politics from the legal aspects of this in any way, shape or form.

“I think he was treated absolutely appallingly. From the moment he went on the bench, it was very clear from the conservative side of politics that there would be moves made – and this was said publicly – to ensure that he would not remain long on the bench,” Professor Hocking said.

Justice Murphy took leave from the High Court when the second Senate commission of inquiry in 1984 found he had a case to answer. The Commonwealth DPP then laid charges against the judge before Parliament moved to make a decision about what it would do to address the judge’s position.

He was acquitted in July 1985 on one charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice but found guilty of another. Murphy successfully appealed the 18-month jail sentence imposed on him and was acquitted at the retrial for the second charge.

“The only truth of a person’s life can be gauged from an examination of their entire life and that’s the only way in which really to assess both the legacy of Murphy as a jurist and as a very successful reforming attorney-general,” Professor Hocking said.

“We also need to understand the context in which these documents have come from and why there was such determined efforts to remove him. Given that he’d been acquitted on the other grounds to come out at trial, the final commission of inquiry [in 1986] was extremely controversial.

“The bottom line is that he was acquitted of the charges he faced at trial and it’s an absolute tragedy and scandal that the matter was not allowed to rest there.”

Lionel Keith Murphy QC – Image courtesy of High Court of Australia