As a 21-year-old law student in 1967, Geoffrey Eames sat on the steps of Parliament House in Spring Street as part of an all-night silent vigil by students protesting the imminent hanging of Ronald Ryan. This youthful response was a reflection of what was to come – a lengthy working engagement with the dispossessed and the marginal.
He was admitted to the Victorian bar in 1969 and built a substantial practice in personal injuries and crime. In 1974, he went to Alice Springs and a job at the Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service. Work with the Central Lands Council and the North Australia Aboriginal Legal Aid Service followed before going to the bar in Darwin, at that time a stout body of five souls.
He took silk in South Australia in 1989 and in Victoria the next year. Between 1986 and 1991 he was counsel assisting the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, working on South Australian and Northern Territory cases.
In 1992 he became a judge of the Victorian Supreme Court but he still kept his hand in with good causes: consultant to the bar readers course committee, the Aboriginal law students mentoring committee, instructing at the advocacy skills workshops in the South Pacific, including intensive periods in the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.
Geoffrey Eames is planning more time with his cheeky galah.
Describe yourself in three words.
Free at last!
What are you currently reading?
Alexis Wright’s “Carpentaria”.
Whats your favourite film?
“The Great Escape.”
Who or what do you fantasise about?
Reconciliation with indigenous Australians.
What stimulants do you recommend?
Laughter and a cheeky pet galah.
What is your greatest fear?
What words or phrases do you overuse?
I can’t remember.
Who would you most like to meet?
First, AC/DC’s Angus Young then, much later, St Peter.
Who do you envy and why?
Angus Young. Legend!
What is your most disturbing personal obsession?
What is your most glamorous feature?
My knowledge of the AC/DC songbook.
If you were a foodstuff, what would you be?
Pie and sauce.
What human quality do you most distrust?
What would you change about Australia?
The conduct of Indigenous affairs.
Who or what do you consider overrated?
What is the first thing you do in the morning?
Check my daily instructions from Janet Albrechtsen.
How would you like to die?
As the last person left to turn out the lights.
What would your epitaph say?
Nothing. Who would write it?
When you shut your eyes and think of the word “law”, what comes to mind?