Mervyn Finlay

Mervyn David Finlay (17 June 1925 2 July 2014) was an Australian judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales and Queen's Counsel. He was a WWII RAAF officer, represented Australia at rowing in the 1952 Summer Olympics and was a NSW state athletics champion.


Meryn Finlay

Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales
In office
8 January 1984 (1984-13-08)  9 August 1995 (1995-08-09)
Personal details
Mervyn David Finlay

(1925-06-17)June 17, 1925
Died2 July 2014(2014-07-02) (aged 89)
Alma materUniversity of Sydney
Olympic medal record
Men's rowing
1952 HelsinkiMen's eight

Early life and sporting career

Born in Balmain, Sydney one of two children to solicitor Mervyn Finlay and his wife Marjorie (nee Kirkwood), Finlay was educated at Sydney Grammar School. He was commissioned at RAAF Flying Officer in the closing stages of World War II. In 1948 he was the New South Wales state athletics champion at the 880yds event.[1]

His senior rowing was done with the Leichhardt Rowing Club in Sydney where he was club captain in 1952. In the three seasons from 1950 to 1952 he was selected in the New South Wales state eight which contested the King's Cup at the Australian Rowing Championships. The New South Wales crew were national champions in 1950 and 1951.

For the 1952 Helsinki Olympics an all New South Wales crew was selected twelve months in advance based on the 1951 King's Cup result. The Olympic selection crew raced the 1952 King's Cup for New South Wales during its preparation and was comprehensively beaten by Victoria. The media then claimed the Victorian crew should be nominated instead. However the selector Joe Gould stuck with the selected crew since a number of them including stroke Phil Cayzer, had severe adverse reactions to the vaccinations they'd taken for overseas travel. It was also mentioned that their fundraising responsibilities, some 7,000 pounds, impacted their preparation - the Australian Olympic Federation had only been able to fund four air tickets for the eight.[2] Finlay was seated at six in that Australian Olympic men's eight who to their credit won the bronze medal in Helsinki.[3][4]

He was admitted to the Bar in 1952 and practised as a Queen's Counsel in New South Wales. From 1984 to 1994 he was a New South Wales Supreme Court judge.[1]

After retirement from the bench he was appointed in June 1997 as Inspector of the Police Integrity Commission for a five year term. He later conducted a judicial review into the law of manslaughter in NSW & its application to negligence-caused deaths of an unborn children. Certain of his proposed certain statutory amendments were adopted into law. Following a period as Chairman of the NSW Innocence Panel, Finlay was appointed Assistant Commissioner of the Police Integrity Commission, for a period expiring shortly after his 80th birthday.[5] In 2007 he was recommended and took up a post as Inspector (Assistant Commissioner) of the newly established New South Wales Police Integrity Commission.[1]


He married Prudence Teece and raised four children at Bellevue Hill in Sydney. Finlay died on 2 July 2014.[6]


  1. "Profile on Mervyn Finlay". ACT Rowing. Archived from the original on 28 March 2012. Retrieved 22 July 2011.
  2. 1952 Olympics at Guerin Foster
  3. Finlay at World Rowing
  4. Guerin-Foster History of Australian Rowing
  5. Finlay SMH obit
  6. "Mervyn Finlay". Sydney Morning Herald. 4 July 2014. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
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