It is with great pleasure that the FLPA Board announces psychologist Peter Jordan as the Travis Lindenmayer Award recipient for 2020. Unable to present the Award in FLPA’s usual celebratory fashion at our annual Christmas function this year, immediate past FLPA president James Steel was proud to present the Award to Peter in person on behalf of FLPA recently.
In presenting the Award, James thanked Peter for his outstanding contribution to family law and FLPA over many, many years.
“I wish him and his family a very long and happy retirement, for which we have tried to equip Peter with a good bottle of red and a Bunnings voucher,” James said.
“I commend to members the tributes below from Peter’s daughter Sophie, social worker Sue Waterman, and the Honourable Justice Colin Forrest together with the response from Peter”.
Peter began his career briefly as a teacher. Once he obtained qualifications as a developmental psychologist, he transitioned into Guidance Counselling. Later in his career he moved on to developmental assessments and Family Assessments in private practice. Throughout his entire career Peter has shown passion and dedication to helping children in need. Over the years, many children, families, and colleagues have expressed their gratitude for his expertise.
While Peter is greatly missed by the profession, he has left an exceptional standard to aspire to. Peter is my guide, my mentor, and my rock. I am privileged to call him my father and I am humbled to follow in his footsteps.
Peter has been a friend, colleague and mentor for the past 20+ years, and someone who has helped me enormously with my work. He’s also great company, with a great sense of humour.
Peter was always generous with his time and spirit and would always manage to find time, even when he was very busy, to talk through a difficult matter and provide wise counsel or reassurance.
Peters reports were often long, leaving no stone unturned reflecting the care he took with each matter, and shaped by his wisdom and compassion. Peter’s leaving has left a major gap professionally however being the generous person that he is he has been good enough to leave us as a daughter Sophie who is following closely in his footsteps and producing wonderful work.
It is with great pleasure that I offer my congratulations to Peter Jordan on his receipt of the Travis Lindenmayer Award this year. Peter is a long-standing member of the Family Law Practitioners’ Association of Queensland and, in the practice of his profession as a Psychologist, as well as in the extra-professional side of his interaction with the family law community, has contributed greatly to the fabric of its existence.
Peter gained his qualifications in Psychology at the University of Queensland as long ago as 1977. He then entered the teaching profession, focusing on Special Education and teaching children with learning disabilities for several years before becoming a school Guidance Officer and, ultimately, a trainer of school Guidance Officers. He then obtained his Masters of Psychology and entered private practice as a Psychologist in 1996. As part of that practice, Peter became a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner and a Family Report writer. He has written more family reports than he could count and often given evidence as an expert witness in Court to assist Judges make the very difficult decisions that are so often required to be made. His reports were, in my experience, detailed, carefully prepared and insightful. He appeared, from where I sat, at least, to have been able to develop a great rapport with the children he interviewed, no doubt making the process easier for them to go through.
I have enjoyed Peter’s work, as have many of us, outside the Courtroom, too. I have fond memories of him strumming and crooning his way through at least one of the pantomimes staged by the family law community in recent years
Peter’s love of life, his profession and of family law must have been astutely observed. Not every parent gets to watch a child follow them into the same profession and area of practice. Peter can proudly observe that his daughter, Sophie, has done just that. Sophie is, no doubt, just as proud of Peter, particularly given the recognition FLPA has given him by bestowing this honour upon him.
Congratulations, Peter. Well deserved. We hope you are enjoying your retirement and we look forward to catching up and celebrating this achievement in person with you in the not too distant future.
I am very humbled to receive the Travis Lindenmayer Award from FLPA. I am grateful for the unexpected recognition that it affords me personally but also the value that it reflects upon my collegiate report writers. I know that my fellow report writers will be pleased to see that our efforts do not go unappreciated by our legal colleagues.
To Justice Forrest, Sue Waterman, and my wonderful daughter Sophie, I say thank you for the tributes that you have paid me in your written comments, although I’m not sure if Soph’s comments will be published. The views that you have expressed about me are entirely reciprocated. Sophie has worked in the practice with me for yonks and has been my in-house therapist for many years. Sue Waterman always made me feel good when I needed help. I enjoyed time with Justice Forrest in and out of Court. I also learnt in one of the pantomimes that he has a pretty good voice for blues, although it needs work.
In addition, I would like to thank family lawyers wholeheartedly for the support that I have received from so many of you. I was always aware of the risks that you took for your clients in referring cases to me when you were unable to predict the outcome.
To my wife and three children, thank you for your love and support and for your enduring tolerance, for all the lost nights and weekends devoted to other families, and for your advice and listening ears over the years.
James Steel suggested a few possible humorous topics for my acceptance response. I will cover some and add a couple:
My fiercest counsel or Judge?
Really none of them were fierce. They were all kind to me and that was my experience of just about everyone who works in the Brisbane registry. However, not all of the litigants were so kind.
The most bizarre or funny thing I’ve read in an affidavit?
There were so many but you had to be there. I remember most the bloke took umbrage because I said in my report that he looked somewhat dishevelled and he responded in an affidavit by saying that I looked like I’d had a bad night on Kings Cross. I probably did after I interviewed him.
Why family law?
Denise Britton whose practice was down the hall, offered me a few cases, bless her heart, and it grew from there. Little did I know….
What/who I’ll miss?
- James Linklater-Steele’s cross examinations (not of me) and trying not to smile;
- Kind judges who rescued me when they heard the slight tremble in my voice or saw the bewildered look on my face (Thank you Judge Howard for being the first to do so on one particular occasion many years ago when I was new to the trade);
- Justice Baumann for helping me formulate my responses even before I knew what they would be through his erudite questions;
- Many Judges, barristers, mediators, report writers, and solicitors who I have not mentioned by name but who have become I value our shared experiences enormously.
What I won’t miss?
Complaints and the logo of the Australian Health Practitioners Agency on their envelopes.
Skills I have perfected?
- Nuanced nodding;
- Writing thirty-five pages that leave me as unexposed as possible;
- Being able to say “I don’t know” while managing to maintain an air of confidence that I really know lots of other
The family law system?
It’s tricky. The upside for me has been the kids, the friendships, and the things that I have learnt not to do – especially in my relationships.
What the future holds?
Apart from continuing to manage my “mild generalised anxiety disorder” due to the tricky bits, I am doing some home renos. Post Covid, I will catch up with good friends in the profession; I spend quiet evenings reflecting with a whisky or two. I promised myself that I would take up drinking upon my retirement and I have been true to my word.
Thank you FLPA and I look forward to seeing you all when we can once again get together.