What had started as a bit of part time, stop gap work experience had now come full circle at Cooke & Hutchinson as Dan completed his practice management course and, on 1 July 2009, officially became partner at the firm. Together, both Gary and Dan began planning the next steps in Cooke & Hutchinson’s journey.

2009 also saw:

– 173 people tragically perish in bush fires in Victoria, Australia’s worst ever natural disaster;

– Anna Bligh becomes Queensland’s first elected female Premier;

– Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull apologise to the “Forgotten Australians”, people who had suffered abuse and neglect as children while in state care;

– After bitter internal disputes over emissions trading, Tony Abbott is elected to the leadership of the Federal Liberal Party. Abbott’s ascension lays the first stone on his path to the Prime Ministership, but also ushers in a new level of toxic personal politics to the Federal arena;

– The Si Lankan cricket team is attacked by terrorists in Pakistan where six policeman and two bystanders are killed;

– US Airways Flight 1549 is forced to make an emergency landing after hitting a flock of geese. The quick thinking of pilot “Chesley B. Sullenberger III in landing the plane perfectly in the Hudson River saves everyone on board;

– A Nigerian man attempts to detonate an explosive device hidden in his underwear while aboard an Amsterdam to Detroit flight. The undie-bomb fails to explode and he is subdued by quick thinking passengers;

– Scientists discover water deposits on the Moon during NASA’s Lcross mission;

James Cameron’s Avatar is released and soon replaces his previous film Titanic as the biggest film of all time at the box office;

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, The White Ribbon, A Serious Man, The Hurt Locker, Fantastic Mr Fox, Where the Wild Things Are, Public Enemies and Watchmen are released;

Deaths: Charles “Bud” Tingwell (15 May), Michael Jackson (25 June), Robert McNamara (6 July), Walter Cronkite (17 July), John Hughes (6 August), Ted Kennedy (25 August), Patrick Swayze (14 September), Don Lane (22 October)