Working to unravel the mystery of unexplained deaths in some of the most remote parts of the country, Greg Cavanagh brings compassion and insight to his role as coroner of the Northern Territory.

Story By David Hancock

In the Australian bush, death can come unexpectedly and in strange and inexplicable ways. In the Northern Territory, with dangerous wild animals, a hot, arid environment and an active population that works remotely, one man has brought compassion and insight to discovering reasons behind the demise of many people over the past 18 years.
Tall and thin, with a steely gaze and no-nonsense attitude, magistrate Greg Cavanagh holds the position of Northern Territory coroner. His jurisdiction is as large as western Europe, but with a population of some 200,000 people in outback towns, Aboriginal communities and prisons, and on refugee boats, offshore islands and reefs.
As the most senior chief coroner in Australia, 62-year-old Greg has conducted inquiries into many fatalities – from crocodile attacks to deaths in custody. He describes his work as “a great job”, while many peers in the legal world consider it to be one of the best judicial positions in Australia because of its variety, interest and challenges.
There are 400 to 500 reportable deaths in the Northern Territory each year and all are investigated to determine the identity of the deceased, cause and circumstances.

This Story is from Issue #99

Outback Magazine: Feb/Mar 2015