Wednesday, May 15, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

90 Years Of Groves And Clark Solicitors

2024 is a year of milestones and celebration for Ayr legal firm Groves and Clark Solicitors who are, most notably, celebrating 90 years of service to the communities of north Queensland. From the humble beginnings of Charles Groves and Frank Clark in 1934, the firm has welcomed many talented legal practitioners, assisted countless members of the community and achieved excellent results for its clients. But it’s the relationships developed amongst staff and clients that Groves and Clark Solicitors has become renowned for, playing an integral role in the Burdekin and beyond. The firm is one that practises around family and a philosophy and ethos to represent its clients professionally, building and maintaining relationships with them into the future.
When two enterprising young lawyers left Brisbane and travelled north in search of a town where they could “hang their shingle” and establish their own legal practice, they built a legacy that is still being celebrated almost a century on. Charles Groves and Frank Clark established Groves and Clark Solicitors in 1934 after identifying Ayr as that town, opening their doors in an old wooden building in Queen Street, Ayr on May 10, 1934; Frank had been admitted as a Solicitor only nine days previously. They quickly established themselves as reputable Solicitors and acquired a number of substantial farming clients among the local community.
Unfortunately, Charles was killed on October 6, 1942, at Milne Bay, New Guinea on active service with the Australian Army in World War II, leaving Frank to continue the pair’s hard work.
“I remember how hard he worked at the very beginning when I was a kid,” said Frank’s daughter Pat Lawson. “He’d come home, have something to eat at night, stay home for a while then he’d go back to work and come home and sleep. He’d go down to the office again before breakfast and then go back and he always wore white clothes in those days, white pants with a white shirt and horrible ironing.
“He liked what he was doing, he was good at it, and it’s gone on for all these years.”
Frank continued in the practice until December 31, 1983, when he retired from full time practice and became a consultant to the firm. He continued to hold a Practising Certificate until he reached his 50th anniversary of his admission as a Solicitor and he is remembered as one the region’s best and most specialised legal professionals.
“Frank was a brilliant solicitor, particularly with sugarcane and the Regulation of Sugar Cane Prices Act when the industry was totally regulated by the government,” said former Groves and Clark Partner Ian Macdonald. “Frank Clark knew every word of the Act, he knew everyone on the local Sugar Cane Prices Board, and he had a reputation far and wide as one of Queensland’s if not the most acknowledged practitioner in the area of the Regulation of Sugar Cane Prices Act.”
During its history, the firm operated from several different premises including its original location at 144 Queen Street and 143 Young Street until in March 1981, it moved into new premises built by the then partners at 98 Macmillan Street, Ayr. The firm boasts a long list of previous partners, solicitors and employees, including J.J. O’Shea, Fred Slattery, John Francis, Ian Macdonald, Tom Bird, John Gaviglio, Barry Jones, Barry Torkington, Bruce Medley, David Lidell, Jim Hunter, Rebecca Fabbro and Majella Meehan, who is considered one of the first women in the region to be named as Partner of a legal firm.
The firm takes pride in the fact that a large number of its current clients are descendants of those first clients gained by Charles Groves and Frank Clark. Groves and Clark is engrained into the fabric of the Burdekin and prides itself on servicing the North Queensland region with pride, professionalism and the values that come from being local. Groves and Clark offers its clients professional service with a down to earth attitude, a philosophy established by the two gentlemen whose names still adorn the doors of the business 90 years on.
“Their names live forever in the name of the firm,” said Ian. “Very often, legal practises would change the name every time a new partner came in. We’re one of the few firms who have never changed our names.”
Read on to hear from some of the current and former partners and employees of the business as they celebrate the following milestones.

Groves And Clark’s 2024 Milestones
The business celebrates 90 years of service
Senior Partner Bruce Medley celebrates 50 years of service
Managing Partner Rebecca Fabbro celebrates 25 years of service
Bruce and Rebecca celebrate 20 years of partnership

Frank Clark
Back Row L-R: Rebecca Fabbro, Bruce Medley, Barry Jones and Jason Pertile. Front Row –L-R: John Gaviglio, Majella Meehan and Barry Torkington. Photo taken May 17, 2000
The team in 2024 L-R: Karli Linton, Eliza Worlein, Maria Lejarraga, Alicia Roncato, Bruce Medley, Lisa Sarri, Denise Tapiolas, Rosanne Grant and Lisa Ferrando. Absent: Rebecca Fabbro and Barbara Briskey

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