Proctor : February 2019
46 PROCTOR | February 2019 Alexander ‘Lex’ MacGillivray AM (Member of the Order of Australia) passed away quietly and peacefully on 22 November, leaving a rich legacy of a life well lived, with many significant personal and professional achievements. Early life and family Lex was born on his mother’s birthday, 3 March 1930, to Doris Helen Anyon and Patrick Alexander MacGillivray. He was the eldest of two boys, and is survived by his brother, John. Lex performed well academically, but left secondary school when offered a law clerk’s position and soon became articled to leading practitioner Virgil Power. Lex completed the Solicitor’s Board of Queensland course a year early, at age 20, but had to wait until he was 21 to be admitted as a solicitor. In 1953, he met his future wife, Jean Frances Adel Barron – ‘Del’. They courted in Brisbane, and if ever parted, corresponded ardently by mail. Each kept the letters sent and received, and at some point combined them. Their family discovered them recently, tied with a red ribbon. They were married on October 29 1955 at St Paul’s Church in Ann Street. Their children followed in very quick succession – five in under six years – Mark, Jonathan, Jane, Fiona and Rachael. Lex and Del were then lucky enough to eventually welcome 11 grandchildren – in order of appearance, Katie, Ellie, James, Becky, Sally, Madeleine, Sarah, Libby, Lucy, Claudia and Matthew. Everyone had a ‘Lex story’ At Lex’s wake, family, friends and colleagues shared their many stories of Lex, including: Lex’s practical jokes – From the simple – a house brick in his child’s school bag – to the incredibly complex, Lex was a dedicated practical joker. Long-time legal partner Brian Halligan was often the victim, suffering fake renovations in his office and an often-missing car. Family and close associates were not his only victims. Former Liberal MP Jim Killen was confronted early one morning at his home Alexander ‘Lex’ MacGillivray AM by “surveyors” plotting the road widening through his front yard. Lex, with his distinctive snowy white mane of hair, would often not be there for the joke, but took great enjoyment from knowing the trick had been played, and that he was the anonymous author. Queensland Law Society was not immune. Lex was once convinced that no one ever read the articles he prepared for Proctor, and they were simply submitted to the printer as delivered. On one occasion he included a string of invective in a long article on consumer credit to find out if anyone actually read his work. They had, fortunately. The trombone – Lex greatly enjoyed playing his trombone, and his interest in jazz generally led him to found the ‘Choses in Action’ with other jazz aficionado lawyers. The Choses in Action found captive audiences at several QLS functions, though it was agreed by all, including a despairing tutor, that Lex may well have been tone deaf. This did not stop him from dispatching articled clerks to his home to get the instrument should Lex discover it was a colleague’s birthday. Friends living overseas have said they will miss being woken at 2 or 3am by a birthday serenade from Lex. Lunches, parties and holidays – Friend and colleague of 60 years Ian Harris spoke at the wake of Lex’s incredible work ethic and his serious commitment to the practice of law. After hours, however, things were different. Lex was great fun to be around, a wonderful raconteur whose invitations were warmly welcomed and highly regarded. Parties, particularly pool and fancy dress parties, were held at the family home at Indooroopilly or at the beach house at New Brighton. Lex and Del treasured their time on holidays at New Brighton with family. It was a work- free zone with no telephone allowed, and anyone arriving from work wearing a tie would find, much to their surprise, it snipped in half neatly below the knot. Lex kept scissors at the ready for this particular purpose. The infamous ‘QLS working lunch’ would also be unleashed by Lex in order to achieve a specific goal of law reform, or to ensure that a particular Minister or senior bureaucrat got whichever point Lex was trying to make. Legal legacy Lex was a people person who unintentionally lit up the room when he entered. He mentored and assisted many junior lawyers, both within and outside of his firm. His generous interest in and support of those lawyers led to many 3.3.1930 – 22.11.2018 Lex MacGillivray...raconteur, trusted advisor and mentor, firm friend, devoted family man and leading practitioner.