25 Aust. YBIL i (2006)
J G Starke, QC

handle is hein.journals/ayil25 and id is 5 raw text is: J G Starke, QC
Joseph Gabriel Starke (known to all as Joe) died in Canberra on 24 February
2006, aged 94. He had a truly remarkable life. One of his achievements was the
foundation of the Year Book in which this tribute appears. There were greater
achievements, spanning an extraordinarily wide range.
Joe Starke was bom on 16 November 1911 in Western Australia into a
family of merchants, who owned a chain of country stores. He was the second
of four brothers, all of whom enjoyed notable careers. He was educated at Perth
Modern School, the cradle of a number of distinguished Australians, and at the
University of Western Australia, where he graduated BA and LLB (the latter
with first class honours) in 1932.
Joe's first academic interest was mathematics, but his father persuaded him
to study law. It is fortunate for readers of the Year Book that he was propelled
into the law, but who is to say that he would not have become an equally
distinguished mathematician or scientist? Indeed the breadth of his interests
throughout his life, his attention to detail, and the taking up of unusual interests
(for a lawyer), such as psychoanalysis, are evidence of an essentially scientific
Joe won the Rhodes Scholarship for Western Australia in 1932. During his
time at Oxford, where he read for the degree of Bachelor of Civil Laws, he was
fortunate to be tutored by G C Cheshire at Exeter College, who influenced him
greatly. (Later in life Joe was to edit the Australian edition of Cheshire and
Fifoot on Contract Law.) At Oxford he also came under the influence of Felix
Frankfurter, later to become a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United
States, who at that time was a visiting professor in Oxford. It was Frankfurter
who advised Joe to pursue a career in international law at a time when Joe was
torn between accepting a position at the League of Nations in Geneva and
returning home.
Despite a period of ill health shortly after arriving in Oxford, and the
consequent need to concentrate his studies, Joe was declared by Professor
Cheshire to be ready to take his final exams in June 1934. He was awarded first
class honours in the BCL and the Vinerian Law Scholarship. A chance visit on
holiday to Geneva awoke his interest in the League of Nations, and also in the
prospect of taking courses at the Institute of International Studies. Permission
was granted by the Rhodes Trustees and his College for him to spend the third
year of his scholarship in Geneva. At the Institute he was taught by a number of
distinguished scholars in international relations and international law, including
Hans Kelsen, Paul Guggenheim, Hans Wehberg, Maurice Bourquin, and Carl
Burckhardt. This confirmed Joe in his ambition to become an international

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