(2019) 33 A&NZ Mar LJ 1
The 45th Annual MLAANZ Conference
11 October 2018
Frank Stuart Dethridge Memorial Address
THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
1 Frank Dethridge
When, in 1977, the Maritime Law Association of Australia (MLAA) first called this presentation an Address,
those who made that decision may not have been a ware of the story of one of my heroes F E Smith, Lord
Birkenhead (Barrister, Lord Chancellor, Member of Parliament, friend of Churchill). It was common at the end
of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries for politicians, pre television, to give speeches at very large To wn
Hall meetings. The story is told that on one occasion a self-important, pompous, local dignitary gave a long winded
introduction to F E Smith and concluded ‘Now Mr Smith please give us your address’. The great man went to the
lectern and simply said ‘32 Grosvenor Gardens, London, SW 1’.
If you would like to know mo re about him there are some great biographies and you can s ee him depicted in the
movie Chariots of Fire played by Nigel Davenport, with the King trying to find a way to assist Eric Liddell to run
his race. And he gave one of the judgments in Gau nt’s case (on ‘All risks’ in marine insurance).1
As will become apparent, I did not meet Frank Stewart Dethridge. I am honoured to be asked to give this Address.
This Association is b lessed with havi ng had such distinguished speakers to have given this Address since 1977,
when the first one was given by Sir Ninian Stephen, then a Justice of the High Court and subsequently Governor-
General of Australia. There are two publications covering the years 1977 to 1988 and 1989 to 1998 which contain
the Addresses given by two Chief Justices of the Australian High Court, 2 a Minister of the Crown,3 Judges,4 a
leading international academic,5 a former C hief Justice of NSW,6 practitioners,7 and Past Presidents,8 and others
since those publications.9 It is indeed an honour to be amongst them all.
2 Sir Ninian Stephen
Sir Ninian Stephen, who had bee n a fellow Victorian practitioner made some wonderful co mments about Frank
Dethridge, which have been quoted by both Ron Salter and Tom Broadmore in their Addresses, but for those who
have not heard them let me repeat the last sentence: ‘He had developed to an exquisite degree that high art of the
instructing solicitor, how to teach counsel what he does not know but needs to learn for the case in hand, while
conveying the impression all the while that it is he, the instructing solicitor, who is collecting pearls of wisdom as
they fall from counsel’s lips.’
* President, Comité Maritime International (2012–18) and Former President, MLAANZ (1992–94).
1 British & Foreign Marine Insur ance Co Ltd v Gaunt  2 AC 41.
2 Sir Harry Gibbs (1988) and Sir Anthony Mason (1998).
3 Sir James Killen (1980).
4 Sir Ronald Davison (1979), Sir GSM Green (1978), Howard Zelling (1981), David Yeldham (1983), Sir Robin Cooke (1984), Lord Mustill
(1986), David Malcolm (1991), IL McKay (1995), Richard Cooper (1996), Sir Owen Woodhouse (1990), Peter Heerey (1993), Simon
5 Francis Reynolds (1985).
6 Sir Laurence Street (1989).
7 Michael Thomas (1992) and Gavan Griffith (1997).
8 Ron Salter (2012), Tom Broadmore (2009) and Sarah Derrington (2016).
9 Justices Keith (2000); Tamberlin (2001); Sir David Steel (2002); Nelson (2003); Waung (2004); Allsop (2006); Kirby (2007); Ryan
(2008), Rares (2013) and Chong (2015).