Pericleans, Plumbers and Practitioners: The First Fifty Years of the Monash University Law School
1 Jan 2014
Monash University Publishing
Peter Yule (Birkbeck College)
When the urbane, learned and widely liked David Derham accepted the invitation to establish the second university law school in Victoria, he wrote to a friend of the challenge ahead, I am probably mad to do it but will have some compensating fun no doubt. As the foundation dean, Derham achieved his vision of establishing a new law school with an innovative curriculum, a first-rate staff recruited from around the world and a state of the art building constructed around Victorias best law library. Within a short time, Monash rose to be among the leading law schools in Australia and became the model that successive new law schools openly copied. If David Derham could see his law school today, there are many achievements he would be proud of, some developments that would appal him and a few that would leave him scratching his head. In this lively and engaging fiftieth anniversary history of the law school, the story of how Derhams vision has played out is told without fear or favour. While the law schools many fine achievements are fully recognised, so too are the wrong turns and backward steps.Most importantly, this is a book about the thousands of people, staff and students, who have been part of the history of the law school. There have been many extraordinary characters. No student will forget the inimitable Louis Waller, the intimidating Enid Campbell or the remarkable Lawrie McCredie and Ron McCallum. Memorable students have been plentiful, including many who have become heavyweights in law, politics and business. Interestingly, the authors found that the most widely remembered student was the great impersonator, Campbell McComas, aka Granville Williams. Far more people recall being at his famous fake lecture than could possibly have been present on the day!