Alumni - Mark Carkeet

Mark Carkeet
Senior Utilities Partner - Minter Ellison​
CBSHS 1976 - 1977

Mark has advised on major utilities projects throughout Australia and South East Asia and for a time was based in Singapore and Jakarta. His clients include Rio Tinto, Anglo American, Stanwell Corporation, Ergon Energy and the governments of Queensland and Fiji.

He has worked in commercial law since 1983, and focused principally on the energy and resources sectors since 1992.

Mark's expertise has been recognised many times by legal directories, including Chambers Asia Pacific, Chambers Global, the Who's Who of Energy Lawyers, Best Lawyers, IFLR 1000, and Doyle's Guide. In 2013, Mark was chosen as the leading Energy Lawyer in Queensland (and one of four in Australia) by the peer elected "Best Lawyers"

Before attending Clontarf, Mark was a student at an all-male private school.  When his family relocated from Toowoomba to Margate Mark joined Clontarf Beach State High and completed Years 11 and 12 here at Clontarf.

Upon joining Clontarf the first thing Mark noticed was how much higher the academic standards were at Clontarf in comparison to his old school.  He observed that there was a group of smart, hard working students at Clontarf who were determined to succeed and took nothing for granted and he soon realised that it was great to be in their company.

Mark also found that Clontarf, as a co-educational school, created a friendlier more tolerant environment than his old grammar school. There was also a wider variety of co-curricular activities on offer, from sports he hadn’t tried before, to orchestra, the talent quest, the school musical and playing in a band and he was pleased that he had been given the opportunity to sample them all.   

After graduation Mark started studying at university and during one vacation he door knocked the shops on Redcliffe Parade looking for a job.  Armed with a reference from one of his teachers he secured a position as a part time job as a storeman at Coles. After working at Coles for three years, the fact that he had a real job and had worked hard helped him obtain a position in a good law firm when he finally graduated from university.

Mark says that it’s sometime the subjects that you don’t think you will use end up being valuable to your life after school.  In his last semester at CBSHS he did a maths unit on computer programming taught by one of the many good teachers at the school, Mr Jan Kubert.  About fifteen years later he used what he had learned to build a database and computerised method for the kind of legal work you need to do before your client buys a business or asset (called Due Diligence). At about the same time, he got off a plane in France after a very long flight, and found that he remembered enough of his high school French to buy train tickets and tell when a taxi driver was ripping him off!

He says “I learned history from a teacher called John Driscoll, and his emphasis on getting to the original source materials really helped me as a lawyer in later life”

Mark has also found that you don’t just use what you learned at school in your job: he put the computer and history skills he had learned at Clontarf together to build a website around his interest in poetry:

If Mark had to do his time at CBSHS again he says he would have studied harder, particularly the STEM subjects. Even though he works as a lawyer the STEM subjects are still relevant to all the work that he does. 

Mark says that as Australians we are lucky in that basically everybody gets the chance to have a good education and that a school like CBSHS gives you the chance, if you work hard, to launch yourself for life.  He has interviewed a lot of people for graduate positions during his time working in a law firm and has found that the kids that come from state schools are every bit as good as those from private schools. If you are smart and you use your time well, you can make good friends and have a lot of fun, too.

Mark’s best memory from his time at CBSHS was the last night of the school musical, Bye Bye Birdie. He says “it was just the feeling that as a group you had done something that none of you could have done by yourself”.

Looking back as when he was sixteen Mark says that his advice to himself would have been don’t try to impress, just do good work and you will impress. Also, proof read your work carefully!

He is now in a band now that occasionally does ABBA covers, and thinks that his 16 year old self would have been mortified at that!

Finally Mark says that “Clontarf was exactly the right experience for me at the right time. Even the difficult times were important, and my time at that school went a long way to forming me into the person I am now. When I see a friend from those days, I feel like they know who I really am”.​

Last reviewed 07 August 2019
Last updated 07 August 2019