John Fouhy Kearney was born on 11 June 1923. He was educated at Xavier College and at the University of Melbourne. He was admitted to the Bar of Victoria and practised extensively in what we would now call environmental law. He was an active participant in international legal conferences. He loved to travel with his wife Alison, whom he had married in 1950, and with whom he had two sons and two daughters. He was a lawyer engaged with the world and interested in ideas beyond the narrow conclave of the profession.