About The Book
Bruce Miles was a war hero who risked his life time and again over Occupied Europe to help stave off the spectre of totalitarian dictatorship. But Bruce Miles’ world view went beyond that. He could not slip back into comfortable obscurity, having done his bit for his country.
Though setting out as just another lawyer, he realised that injustice was not confined to large-scale events such as invasions of other nations. It extended to the problems faced by ordinary people who were at a disadvantage, brought on by circumstances, and who in the way of things fell foul of the law.
The man who twice nursed crippled bombers back to home country, once with a gaping shrapnel wound in the leg, was fiercely loyal to his crew. But he extended the meaning of “crew” to anyone, anywhere, who turned to him for help.
With the help and the eternal forbearance of a beautiful war bride, Lilian. Miles, who brought five children into the world, plunged himself into advocacy for the disadvantaged, particularly members of the Aboriginal community. For 14 years Miles was principal solicitor for the NSW Aboriginal Legal Service, whose general cause, including their claim that they were the true owners of the land, he took up.
Miles had his own purgatorial experiences in the law as he had in action. But he always bounced back. He dedicated himself not just to the disadvantaged, he represented highflyers such as bookmaker Robbie Waterhouse and had a quiet and timely word with another high-flyer in trouble, Justice Lionel Murphy. But whoever he was representing, at the heart of Miles’ advocacy was the appeal to robust humanity and common sense, his theme being that real justice was not possible unless all the circumstances relating to the individual were taken into account.
Miles’ selflessness, his disdain for personal gain, his irascible style and irrepressible humour brought him to the notice of fellow professionals and the entire judiciary who always took him seriously and treated him with respect. His contribution was acknowledged at the end of his life, culminating in the award of the Medal of the Order of Australia. A group of lawyers believed that such a life could not be allowed to pass without a permanent record being left to inspire those coming after him.
Pictured here is the Order of Australia medal presented to Bruce Miles by the Governor of NSW Mary Bashir.