Stephen Gageler to replace Susan Kiefel as High Court Chief Justice.

Stephen Gageler to replace Susan Kiefel as High Court chief justice.

By political correspondent Brett Worthington posted 22 August 2023

See: Stephen Gageler to replace Susan Kiefel as High Court chief justice – ABC News

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See also: Stephen Gageler to be next High Court chief justice (

See also: Stephen Gageler – Wikipedia

There is little doubt that Stepehen Gageler is one of the Upper Hunter’s most distinguished sons.

High Court justice Stephen Gageler will replace trailblazing lawyer Susan Kiefel as the head of the highest court in the land.

Key points:

  • Stephen Gageler will become the High Court chief justice on November 6
  • The government has also appointed Robert Beech-Jones to the highest court in the land.
  • The appointments come ahead of the early retirement of Susan Kiefel

Justice Gageler, the most senior justice after Chief Justice Kiefel, will assume her role when the incumbent retires in November.

He will become the 14th person to lead the court since its inception.

The federal government has also appointed Robert Beech-Jones, from the NSW Supreme Court to the High Court, with the Sydneysider set to become a justice on November 6, when Justice Gageler assumes his new role.

The appointments mean the court will no longer be female dominated, which it became earlier this year.

Justice Gageler joined the High Court in in 2012, having served as Australia’s solicitor-general prior to his appointment.

He is 65 years old and can serve in the role until he turns 70, when the constitution dictates, he must retire.

Legal circles had long expected he would replace Chief Justice Kiefel, who in June announced she would retire from the court earlier than expected.

Speaking in June, Justice Gageler paid tribute to the chief justice, telling the court her “firm and gracious presence” would be missed.

Chief Justice Kiefel was the first woman to hold that role.

The federal government picked Susan Kiefel to join the High Court bench as a justice in 2007, having previously served as a judge on the Federal Court of Australia. A decade later, she became the chief justice, replacing Robert French.

She left school at 15 and worked as a legal secretary.

The Queenslander later started studying law part time and eventually studied at the University of Cambridge. She was admitted to the bar in 1975 and became her home state’s first female Queen’s counsel in 1987.

Justice Gageler studied at the Australian National University and Harvard.

Tasmanian-born Robert Beech-Jones has served on the NSW Supreme Court since 2012. In 2021, he became the chief judge at common law on that court.

Prime Minster Anthony Albanese and Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus announced the appointments following months of consultations.

Earlier this year, the court made history when it became a majority-female bench with the appointment of Justice Jayne Jagot.

Following the new appointments, the court will have four men and three women serving on it.

Elephant on Track

Elephant on Track

Featured Image: Elephant crossing a railway track.

Like my post on Chris Winter’s Barbers Shop & Maternity Ward (See: this is yet another true story pertaining to mysterious and gnomic diversions in Scone.

It was a good race meeting at Scone’s magnificent Satur Track yesterday (Monday 21 August 2023) when the weather Gods were at their kindest and maximal best. There were two minor infractions however, both of which delayed the timing of events. Only one Paramedic was present with the ambulance prior to Race 1. This was rapidly fixed. The second event was a uniquely Australian episode when later in the day grazing kangaroos ‘invaded’ the lush green 1000 Metre Schute. Their presence impeded Race 7 until such time as they were removed.

It reminded me of a few climactic incidents of yesteryear at the ‘old’ White Park Racetrack. White Park was a gift to the borough of Scone by munificent benefactor A H White (‘Belltrees’) in 1924. It was and is a multipurpose sporting venue and recreation facility immediately adjacent to the Railway Line. From 1947 – 1994 it hosted the Scone Race Club. The track was 7 furlongs (1400m) in dimension and boasted a single cinder training track on its outside with no restraining inner rail.

Gill Brother’s Circus were annual visitors to Scone & District and ‘housed’ at White Park. They were incredibly popular callers. Imagine SRC President John Kelso’s incredulous surprise to receive a very early and equally angry telephone call at his Timor Creek home from Scone Trainer Eric Flett who informed him there was ‘an Elephant on the track tied to the running rail’! His horses went berserk, especially when confronted with a camel as well! Unbeknown to John, the Circus had arrived overnight and ‘unloaded’ at their camp inside the racetrack. There was a confrontation of cultures which took some time to resolve. It was almost matched a little later when local resident and solicitor Graham Hook tied his daughter’s donkey to the back fence of his house immediately adjacent to the track. If racehorses don’t like elephants and camels, they like braying donkeys even less!

If it had been trainer Alf Marks reporting the menagerie there was another alternative explanation. The ‘zoo’ of demons, gremlins, torments and fiends could have been in Alf’s mind especially if his good drinking mate Jack Gill (Gill Brothers Circus) had been in town. Very early-morning proponent, teetotaller jockey Herbie Eveleigh had relayed the scenario to an incredulous Eric Flett. He was the first to encounter the errant elephant in the dusky dark of pre-dawn trackwork. I think he stayed in the saddle. Hard to believe? I kid you not!

Henry Plumptre

Henry Plumptre

See: CEO of Cambridge Stud Henry Plumptre on all things racing (

Featured Image: Henry Plumptre, CEO of Cambridge Stud NZ

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Not many people have seen the racing industry from a vantage point like Henry Plumptre’s.

Over multiple decades and various continents Henry has forged relationships, professional and personal with racing’s most influential, all while becoming one of the most influential.

Currently the CEO of Cambridge Stud, Plumptre has held prominent roles with Arrowfield and Widden Stud’s as well as serving as Managing Director during a very successful time in Godolphin’s history.

“You can talk about the success, and you can talk about the great horses and I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with a number of them, but the ones that fashion your career and that really make you the person you are, are the slow ones .. they’re the character-building ones.”

A pearl of wisdom from a man who has seen a lot and is rightly proud of his life in racing.

Olly Tait

Olly Tait

Featured Image: Olly Tait @ ‘Twin Hills’

See: Team | Twin Hills Stud

Olly has senior international experience in the racing and breeding industry which is quite simply unparalleled. During his 15 years at Darley, Olly established the organisation in Australia, expanded it in Japan, developed it in the United States before relocating to the UK in 2010 when he was responsible for the Darley operations globally. Elected to the Breeders’ Cup Board of Directors, Members and Trustees in 2009, Olly was their Audit and Finance Chairman until 2013. From 2006-2008, Olly was President of the Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association in Australia and a Director of Aushorse, the representative body of commercial thoroughbred breeders in Australia.

See: Ollie Tait Joins Aushorse | Breednet

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Vin Cox Thoroughbred Extraordinaire

Vin Cox Thoroughbred Extraordinaire


Featured Image: Godolphin’s Australian boss Vin Cox after ‘Anamoe’ won the Group I Might and Power at Caulfield. Picture: Racing Photos via Getty Images

Authors note: The rise-and-rise of Vin Cox in Australian and International thoroughbred racing and breeding has been steadily stratospheric to put it mildly. I’m reminded of the time he and William Huntingdon had dinner with us at ‘Geraldton’. Vin has a uniquely Australian pedigree. He’s a direct descendent of William Cox (19 December 1764 – 15 March 1837) an English soldier, known as an explorer, road builder and pioneer in the early period of British settlement of Australia.

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Award-winning Hunter Valley environmentalist and farmer Wendy Bowman dies aged 89

Award-winning Hunter Valley environmentalist and farmer Wendy Bowman dies aged 89


ABC Upper Hunter

By Cecilia Connell and Amelia Bernasconi

Posted 01/08/2023 at 2:19pm, updated 02/08/2023.

Featured Image: Hunter Valley farmer and environmentalist Wendy Bowman has passed away. (ABC Upper Hunter: Cecilia Connell)

Author’s note: Wendy Bowman is my spouse Sarah’s first cousin. He co-conspirator in the original Mine Watch lobby group was my good friend and professional colleague, Muswellbrook veterinarian Gavin Gidley-Baird.

An unwavering environmentalist and farmer who stopped a multi-million-dollar mine expansion in the coal-rich Hunter Valley is being remembered for her legacy.

Key points:

  • Environmentalist Wendy Bowman has passed away, aged 89.
  • The mother-of-three spent more than 30 years fighting local coal mines.
  • She’s being remembered as “deeply passionate” and “irreplaceable”.

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