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Growing Stronger Podcast Ep #16: The Rich Man’s Poor Son

Posted on 22nd September 2021
Catherine Henry Lawyers
Catherine Henry Lawyers

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Growing Stronger Podcast Ep 16- The Rich Mans Poor Son

In episode 16 of our podcast, Growing Stronger, Tanya Chapman discusses the prominent businessman John Hemmes’s estate and his illegitimate son Edward Leslie Cameron. Even after a DNA test proved that Edward was John’s biological son, John continued to deny it and wanted nothing to do with him. Given that John never acknowledged Edward as his son, it surprised no one that John didn’t leave him anything in his will. With no provision made for him in his father’s will, Edward made a family provision application.

This episode looks at whether that application was successful.

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Case: Estate Hemmes; Cameron v Mead [2018] NSWSC 85


1. This is a brief summary of the topic and the case law covered in the episode and is not a full transcript of the recording.

2. The case discussed in the episode is a NSW case, so what we’re discussing will be based on the law in NSW and is not intended to be taken to be applied Australia-wide.

3. While this podcast is aimed to be informative, it is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice. For any matter we discuss, we summarise, skip over parts that may be too technical and only generalise. You should still see a solicitor for complete advice that relates directly to your particular situation.


Between 1983 and 1989 John Hemmes was having an extra-marital affair with a much younger lady, Fiona Leslie Cameron. The affair resulted in the conception and birth of a son – Edward Leslie Cameron born in June 1990.

Fiona Cameron always said that John was the father of her child, but John denied it. After more than one round of litigation and DNA testing, it was declared that John was Edward’s biological father.

For 13 years John paid child support, only because the law made him and only about $300,000 which he was well able to afford. Once he didn’t have to pay child support anymore, he never made another payment for his son Edward.

But despite the DNA test results and the Court orders, John continued to deny that he was the father up to his death on 1 March 2015 at the age of 83 years.

John had made his last will less than 2 months before his death, in January 2015.

The will appointed David Mead as the sole executor and made the following provisions:

  • The house known as the Hermitage in Vaucluse was owned as joint tenants with his wife Merivale and his will confirmed that it was to automatically pass to her
  • All contents of the house and personal possessions to go to his wife
  • He left Kerrie Boylett, his General Manager Administration the sum of $2m
  • The remainder of the estate was to be divided equally between his son Justin Hemmes and his daughter Bettina Hemmes.

There was no mention in his will of his other biological son, Edward Cameron.

Edward Cameron, as a biological child, was eligible to make a family provision claim – an application for provision from his father’s estate.

Is a son the deceased never met entitled to receive a share of his estate?

You can listen to all Growing Stronger episodes below:

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