Law professor Gary Lilienthal has lived and worked in Sydney, Malaysia, India, China and Ethiopia but this year is living in Cootamundra, splitting his time between academic work and renovating a house he's bought here.
During 2019 Cootamundra has been fortunate to have in its midst a law professor who has also recently become an expert house renovator, equally at home supervising a PhD student or fixing cracks in cornices with No More Gaps.
Gary Lilienthal, professor of law, arrived in Cootamundra by train from Melbourne in 2017 and liked the town so much he bought a house here.
"I took a walk while I was waiting for the coach to Canberra and I just loved it," he says in an interview in the kitchen of the older-style house Temora Street house he is now renovating.
"Around Albert Park it's like a quiet Sydney suburb really - it made an impression, so I came back and bought this house about six months later."
As one does, Professor Lilienthal then took up a visiting professorship teaching law in Ethiopia for a year and rented the house out for the year he was away.
He loved teaching in Ethiopia but the climate was a problem.
"You couldn't last there long, your body couldn't take it," he said.
"It's very dry and 7,500 feet above sea level - you can't walk around you've just got to sit down at your desk."
Returning to Australia late last year, he found his tenants had been experiencing problems resulting from the house moving on its foundation after the removal of a street tree.
Dust was falling from the ceilings where cornices had cracked and he decided to move in to the house himself and renovate it, splitting his time 50/50 between academic and home renovation work.
"I recognised it needed work but I didnt realise how much," he said. "Basically I'm doing 25 years worth of maintenance nobody had done before."
The house is making good progress, with most of the cracks treated with flexible filler and ready for painting when daytime temperatures warm up - but the tradesman's cap comes off when academic work calls.
On the morning of our interview, he had just returned from a week in Melbourne speaking with publishers and business friends about commercialising some of his research work, and had already edited two books reviews, with a student paper to edit later and a peer-reviewed paper for the Commonwealth Law Bulletin needing two days' work.
It's been a good balance, but Professor Lilienthal, who will turn 70 next month, has found it a hard winter.
He's not sure whether he will rent the house or sell it when the renovations are done.
He has three children in Australia - two boys studying liberal arts at university and a journalist daughter in Melbourne - but has lived some years in China and is thinking he may retire there, where the rental from a house in Australia can provide a very liveable income.
Divorced from the children's mother, he has a girlfriend in Guang Zhou, in Guandong province west of Hong Kong.
His girlfriend is a photojournalist with the People's Liberation Army, and he's now become quite proficient in Chinese, studying the language and reaching level three certificate which would be sufficient to do a master's degree there.
The mass of people in China doesn't worry him, and he has fond memories of a 25-hour train journey from Guang Zhou to Beijing, where everyone is assigned a sleeper.
"The younger ones would climb up to the top bunks but then come down and everyone sits on the lowest bed and talks, it's very social, very sweet - when they see a foreigner they're amazed."
Professor Lilienthal has never held a chair in an Australian university, although he taught at universities in Sydney it was always just part-time or casual jobs and "hard to struggle your way out of it".
"I got my big break in the early 2010s when I got a senior lecturer's job in Malaysia and that gave me a full academic appointment as a government official of Malaysia doing all the academic funcitons I would have had to wait 20 or 30 years for here."
In addition to his Sydney University law degree he has numerous postgraduate qualifications including a PhD in business law and legal history from Curtin University and a master's in psychoanalysis from Deakin University.
In 2019 alone he has had six articles accepted or published, covering legal topics as diverse as the live animal export trade, colonial land title in Australia, the meaning of sedition, business goodwill, a comparison of laws using the defence of necessity and human capital.
At present he is working his way through the process of commercialising academic research, which is difficult in the field of law because "everyone's a solicitor and why would you hire a PhD if you can hire someone with a Bachelor's degree?"
However, he is making progress. His paper on the live animal export trade identified research gaps which bodies such as the National Party would like to see filled so that the trade can be put on a long-term and legally sound footing.
This paper has been accepted for publication in a high-level publication in Berlin, with Germany having a long history of leglislation in this area.
The legal implications of live export are not confined to Australia, but also involve importing countries where the animals have to be monitored throughout their lives and their treatment must be in accord with local laws, including Islamic law.
Professor Lilienthal says Australian academia is very corporate and resistant to unorthodox thinking - for example, ANU's refusal of the Ramsay money to set up courses in Western Civilisation he finds hard to understand.
"I don't see anything wrong with the Ramsay stuff - there are very few people getting a good liberal arts education these days and in my view a liberal arts education is what you need - that's what I advised my two boys and that's what they're doing.
"One is doing French and art history, and the other doing bachelors of education and arts.
"My daughter has a BA in philosophy and political science and a higher degree in journalism and she has very good critical thinking skills."