A long-serving Katherine lawyer is heading to greener pastures after almost 40 years of service in the region.
At 67 years of age, Graham Cole is semi retiring, making way for Darwin based law firm, Bowden McCormack.
While he will be spending more of his time around the sea, rather than the outback, when he relocates to south east Queensland, Katherine will always hold a special place in his heart.
The now empty office space is soon to be filled with the belongings of a new lawyer, but his case files will remain, as he plans to keep on with his current clients.
“I will only be a call away,” Mr Cole said.
He has plans to travel back to Katherine every couple of months.
“I want to be here as a natural contact point, I can then pass on information to my colleagues if need be,” Mr Cole said.
“Katherine can’t get rid of me that easily,” he said.
Over his vast time working in Katherine, acting for the subsequent generation of his clients has been the most rewarding part of his job.
“It has demonstrated to me that three generations trust you,” he said.
“I have been able to see these young people do amazing things, making an effort, that has been a real privilege for me.”
Mr Cole moved to Katherine with his wife, Jan, after spending the 70s in Melbourne practicing law and travelling extensively.
Adopting two children from Sri-Lanka, the couple fell in love with how “manageable” Katherine was and still is.
“We loved that it was small, there is always great parking.
In a complicated world, small is manageable.- Graham Cole
“I know who the Mayor is, you can access what is needed in a matter of minutes, I like that when you sit at a restaurant you know the waiter.
“To be able to live in a tiny joint has been amazing,” he said.
Mr Cole said he was eager to spend more time sailing, cycling, practicing law and studying cognitive science at the University of Queensland, as he steps into his new role on the back bench.
Bowden McCormack Lawyers incorporating Graham Cole aims to hold on to the foundations already established by the long-standing lawyer.
The medium-sized Darwin firm was founded by Sean Bowden and Dominic McCormack, who both have strong ties to Katherine and Mr Cole.
Mr McCormack grew up in Wadeye, a remote Indigenous community, which sits on the western edge of the Daly River Reserve, about 450 kilometres from Katherine.
He speaks Murrinhpatha, the dominant language of Wadeye fluently and was educated through Katherine School of the Air.
And Mr Bowden married Denise, the daughter of the first Indigenous Alderman to sit on Katherine’s council, Mavis Govan.
“Graham knew my mother and father in law, and we have known each other for a good 20 years. We have strong connections with Katherine and that is why we have made the move,” Mr Bowden said.
“Our focus will be on sales of business, land transactions and sales of pastoral properties. We will be able to handle land and water issues, business disputes as well as employment issues,” he said.
“We want to keep servicing the Katherine region and build on it.
“Graham took a solemn duty of care for the people here, he developed strong relationships with people over a long time, and that will continue,” he said.
The firm is currently looking to hire one person to take on a permanent presence in Katherine and support Mr Cole.
“We are looking for that person who will thrive in Katherine and provide a service like Graham, who will be here for the long-haul,” Mr McCormack said.
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