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Vale Stephen Comino

08 October, 2013

An inspirational member of the public interest law community, Stephen Comino, has passed away aged 85 years. Stephen was the first Greek speaking solicitor in Queensland.

Vale Stephen Comino

In the 1960s, Stephen joined the Cooloola Committee with other devoted conservationists. In the early 1970s, it achieved its goal of pressuring the State Government of the day into declaring the Cooloola area a National Park and stopping sand mining.

In the 1970s, Stephen conducted a legal case which went to the High Court of Australia and which overturned the decision of a Mining Warden to grant a mining lease on Fraser Island (Sinclair v Mining Warden at Maryborough (1975) 132 CLR 473). The Fraser Government’s decision to cancel export licences for mineral sands resulted in the preservation of Fraser Island in its natural state and enabled its listing as World Heritage.

In 1989, Stephen acted for the Central Queensland Speleological Society to prevent a cave housing an endangered ghost bat colony from being blown up (Central Queensland Speleological Society Inc v Central Queensland Cement Pty Ltd [No. 1] [1989] 2 Qd R 512). This case also went to the High Court of Australia. The case was lost on a technicality but the bad publicity from the case caused the mining company to buy and dedicate to conservation a neighbouring property with a cave for the bats. His client cavers thanked him with a special award.

From Stephen Comino’s Eulogy delivered Friday 4 October 2013

Environmental Defenders Office Queensland (EDO Qld) gives a strong legal voice to the environment when needed most.

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