HAROLD EDWARD RENFREE
Long-serving govt lawyer,
author and composer
A distinguished government lawyer, au- thor and amateur composer, Harold Ed- ward Renfree, CBE, died in Melbourne on Saturday at the age of 83.
Mr Renfree had been one of the lon-
gest-serving Commonwealth Crown Solic- itors, a position he held from 1955 until his retirement in 1970.
He joined the Victorian Public Service in 1921, transfered to the Commonwealth three years later and joined the Crown Solicitor's Office in Melbourne in 1924. He remained with that organisation for the rest of his working life.
He was appointed Assistant Crown So- licitor in 1951 and became the Govern- ment's principal solicitor four years later.
The post of Crown Solicitor has since been replaced by the Australian Govern- ment Solicitor. A "board" of five senior officers of the Attorney-General's Depart- ment now functions as the AGS.
During his long term as Crown Solicit- or, Mr Renfree was responsible for the Commonwealth's conduct of many major High Court cases, in particular a number of important Section 92 free-trade cases.
Spratt v. Hermes, the leading case on the Commonwealth's power to make laws for the ACT, was also conducted during his term.
Mr Renfree was described this week as a "most amiable person", very active and a lawyer who had been a "storehouse" of
information on Commonwealth law.
He wrote a number of books on the subject, most since his retirement. His ti- tles include The Federal Judicial System
of Australia and The Executive Power of the Commonwealth of Australia.
His retirement was every bit as active as his working life. As well as writing lengthy and scholarly legal books, Mr Renfree was an active churchman, a lawn bowler and
amateur composer and player of classical music.
He had been living for some time in a retirement village in Page.
A funeral service will be held in Can- berra today.
He is survived by a son, two daughters, several grandchildren and a great grand-