Obituaries

Brian Rothwell Cox

Brian R CoxBrian Cox died on 2nd May 2012, aged 82. For over 50 years he was a regular ringer at St Peter’s Cathedral, Adelaide.

He began ringing in 1957, ten years after the bells in the Cathedral were installed. To that time, the Cathedral band had been struggling, but with the combination of Enid Roberts, Bill Pitcher, Fred Smeaton, Herbert Greenhalgh and others, and encouraged by occasional visits from the then Melbourne ringers, including George and Diana Pipe and Jack Roper, the band soon began ringing regular quarter peals of Doubles, Minor and Triples.

I was privileged to be taught to ring by Brian in late 1960. I could not have asked for a more competent and conscientious mentor. In the 1960s he spent a year in the UK and Europe, during which a high priority for Brian was ringing and making and renewing ringing friendships with the likes of Philip and Joan Gray, Chris and Margaret Woolley and George and Diana Pipe, all great friends of Australian ringing.

Brian remained a regular member of the Cathedral band until the onset of Parkinson’s disease some three to four years ago. He participated in a number of ringing visits to Melbourne and Sydney. He rang the 7th to Grandsire Triples at St Peter’s in the first peal on the bells in February 1963. He met his wife, Anna, through ringing. They were married in 1966. He was a member of the band when it reached its pinnacle as an 8-spliced Sunday service band in the late 1980s and early 1990s, under the guidance and with the assistance of the likes of Philip Goodyer, James Smith and Ian Harris.

Brian was always quiet and unassuming, never seeking the limelight. But what many in ringing circles do not appreciate was the great contribution he made to society outside the ringing community.

Brian was a highly skilled fifth-generation lawyer. He was a QC and was Solicitor General for South Australia from 1970 to 1978, appearing in many constitutional cases before the High Court of Australia and the Privy Council. It was during a trip to the Privy Council in a case in which both Brian and I were involved that we managed our first peals of Stedman Caters and Superlative Surprise Major, with the aid of Chris Woolley.

In 1975 Brian was appointed Chancellor of the Diocese of Adelaide, an office he held for 17 years. Shortly after that appointment he became President of the Appellate Tribunal of the Anglican Church of Australia, the Church’s highest “Court”. In that capacity he played a significant role, through several judgments of the Tribunal, in paving the way for the eventual ordination of women to the priesthood in the Anglican Church of Australia in 1992.

In 1978 he was appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of South Australia. He earned enormous respect in the legal profession for the clarity, fairness, scholarship, conscientiousness, compassion and wisdom of his judgments. I was privileged to join him on that Court for two years until he retired in 1999.

Brian was a great lover of literature and classical music in its many forms. He was a devoted fan of Wagner, and was a member of the national Board of Musica Viva for many years. In retirement he was a volunteer presenter on the local Adelaide fine music radio station. He was an avid birdwatcher and a keen golfer.

With Brian’s death ANZAB has lost a talented ringer and friend, the Church has lost a devoted Christian and the community has lost a fine lawyer and judge. He leaves a widow, Anna, three children and five grandchildren.

 

The Hon. DAVID BLEBY, QC

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CC
Central Council of Church Bell Ringers