Martin Hicks


I was brought up in Devon, UK and educated at boarding schools from the age of 8. My secondary school was Canford in Dorset.   On leaving school I served articles with a solicitor’s practice in Exeter, Devon for 5 years during which time I also attended the College of Law in Guildford in preparation for the Solicitors qualifying examinations. I served briefly in the UK Territorial Army (Devonshire Regt).

Following admission, I worked as an employed solicitor for two years with Boodle Hatfield in the West End of London and for a further two years with a practice in Winchester.  With both firms I practiced in their agricultural law departments.

Following my father’s premature death, I returned home to Devon and ran my family furniture manufacturing and retailing business for two years before selling the factory.   I retained the retail business to provide an income for my mother and continued to supervise this for the next ten years.

I joined a local solicitors’ practice as an employee, heading their office in Chard, Somerset.   I became an equity partner two years later.  With a young partner of approximately the same age I embarked on a progressive expansion of the firm resulting ultimately in a practice of 8 partners, 5 offices in East Devon and South Somerset and approximately 100 staff.  The practice engaged in all the fields usual to a market town law firm: real property, matrimonial, criminal, personal injury, general civil litigation and probate. My Chard office had a substantial agricultural practice, acting for farmers and landowners in all areas of land law, succession and the law and regulations imposed by government and EU intervention including milk quotas, cereal production and environmental control.   I specialised as an agricultural and rural property lawyer. I was also the practice finance partner for many years.

Out of the Office I hunted regularly with my local Harrier pack (mounted foxhunting) and in spring and autumn with the Devon & Somerset Stag Hounds.  I served as Secretary of the annual Point to Point race meeting (amateur steeple chasing) for 10 years and competed in the Hunt Member’s Races.   I also competed in mounted Team Chasing.  I was a keen but erratic game shot (driven pheasant).  My interests also included entomology (butterflies and moths), vintage motoring and woodwork.

Since moving to Australia, I served as secretary to the Dorrigo Agricultural Association (Dorrigo Show Society) for five years.  I then became the secretary of the newly formed Bellingen Mens’ Shed.

I have two children by a previous marriage, a son who retired from the British Army (Captain in the Kings Royal Hussars, with one Syria tour and two Afghanistan tours under his belt) and who now works in London and a married daughter who has worked in the Bloodstock industry as apprentice jockey, polo manager, assistant trainer, Paris racing press representative and Racecourse administrator.  

I sustained a severe head injury in a hunting accident in 2003 resulting in (inter alia) some brain damage and the loss of sight of an eye. This precipitated my early retirement from legal practice. Some 6 years later I moved to Australia in search of new adventures.

My generation missed out on “gap years”. I tried to make up for this deficit later in life and have travelled in Zimbabwe, Kenya (to Lake Turkana), Nepal, China (to walk the Tiger Leaping Gorge), Guyana (an expedition in to the interior for both herpetological and entomological research) and Brazil (a short walk in Chapada Diamantina near Lençóis in the State of Bahia. 

My father was a competent cabinet maker, built a 30ft sailing and cruising yacht for his own use and was an adept rigger, splicing both wire and cordage. I picked up the basics of woodwork with hand tools from him and his employees in the factory joiner’s shop. I inherited his hand tools and tool chest which are still with me here in Bellingen.