Hon Trevor Griffin

The Honourable Kenneth Trevor Griffin LLM KStJ
Died 7th March 2015, aged 74

When Trevor Griffin died, much was written and remembered about his 24 years in the State Parliament, his long service as Attorney-General and his reputation as an outstanding legislator. But we can remember him also for the part he played in the life of the Presbyterian Church and the Uniting Church in South Australia.

As a child Trevor attended church and Sunday School at the Mitchell Memorial Presbyterian Church at Goodwood. Fellow scholars remember him as a serious little boy winning all the Sunday School prizes. In 1951 Trevor's father, Mr Ken Griffin, began a Sunday School in the garage at their home in Brayville, a booming post-war housing area. From an initial 16 children this grew to over 400 in 1957. A church hall, that became the Plympton Park Presbyterian Church, was built in 1952 but was too small to hold all the children and the "big top", a large marquee, was erected each Sunday to house the younger children until a further hall was erected.

Trevor took part in all the church activities and when he was old enough joined the PFA (youth group, the Presbyterian Fellowship of Australia). Later, when he was in his twenties, he was a respected leader and mentor to younger boys and girls. He was State President of the PFA from 1961 to 64. When Trevor was studying law at university, a senior lawyer who was a member of the Goodwood Church, Mr Howard Zelling, took a great interest in the young man's career. Howard Zelling was the Procurator (the senior legal officer) of the Presbyterian Church in South Australia and after Trevor became established in his legal practice he assisted Mr Zelling in legal work for the church.

As his ability and his desire to serve the church became recognised, Trevor found himself on many committees and boards. During the 1960s and 1970s he was a member of the Presbyterian Assembly's Department of World Mission, the Code Committee, the Development Fund, the GAA Judicial Commission, the St Andrews Hospital Board of Governors (on which he served for 44 years), the Clare Trusts and many others. When Howard Zelling was appointed to the Bench of the Supreme Court of S A in 1969 Trevor became the Procurator of the Presbyterian Church in South Australia, at a time when preparations for Church Union with the Congregational and Methodist Churches meant a very heavy load of legal work. In the early years of the Uniting Church Trevor served on the Synod Standing Committee but he was finding that two other things made demands on his time.

One was his growing interest in politics. He was a member of the Liberal Party and this led him to stand for parliament, although he was not successful the first time his name appeared on the ballot cards. But it would come soon enough.

The other was family life. In the early 1970s Trevor and Val were married and they had two sons, Mark and Tim. They joined Scots Church and some readers will remember them among a group of young parents whose babies were baptised in a Scots Church service that was televised by the ABC in 1976.

We remember Trevor as a man of faith, a quiet, unassuming man who gave generously of his time to help others, always spoke up for the disadvantaged and was a loyal friend. The church has much to thank God for when we remember Trevor Griffin.

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