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Victorian Women and the Law – Milestones *
First female law student, Grata Flos Matilda Greig commenced at the University of Melbourne
Women’s Disabilities Removal Act No. 1837 of 1903, 6 April 2003 “An act to remove some anomalies in the law relating to women” to enable women to be admitted to practise as legal practitioners
Flos Greig first woman admitted to practice
Joan Rosanove first woman to sign the Victorian Bar Roll (retired, 1926; re-signed Bar Roll in 1949)
Joan Rosanove first woman appointed Queen’s Counsel (Victoria)
Paulette Parkinson tenth woman to sign Bar Roll
Justice Margaret (Peg) Lusink first Victorian woman appointed to Family Court of Australia after signing Bar Roll in 1975.
Lynnette Schiftan (nee Opas) second Victorian woman to take silk

Victorian Equal Opportunity Act 1984 establishes Equal Opportunity Commission

Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act 1984

Lynnette Schiftan QC appointed to County Court bench
Mary Gaudron first woman appointed to High Court of Australia, retired 2003
Jan Wade appointed first (Victorian) woman Attorney General

Women Barristers Association (Victoria) formed

Rachelle Lewitan QC first Women Barristers Association (WBA) convenor

Rosemary Balmford appointed to County Court bench

Susan Crennan QC first woman chairman of the Victorian Bar Council

Equal Opportunity Act 1995

Launch of Women Barristers' Association Constitution

Rosemary Balmford appointed first woman judge to Supreme Court Victoria
Launch of Australian Women Lawyers by Justice Mary Gaudron.
Read Justice Gaudron's speech here.

Victorian Bar Council commissions Rosemary Hunter and Helen McKelvie’s Equality of Opportunity for Women at the Victorian Bar, a landmark report on systemic discrimination at the Bar. Victorian Bar Council establishes a working party to develop response to Report and Model briefing policy

Download the report HERE. Warning! This is a very large file (50MBytes). Please right click on the link and choose "Save target as.." (Windows Explorer) or "Save link as.." (Firefox) and save the document to your computer.


Victorian Attorney General Rob Hulls endorses model briefing policy as government policy

Opening of Joan Rosanove chambers


Pamela Tate SC made first woman Solicitor General (Victoria)

Marilyn Warren first woman Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Victoria

Tenth year anniversary of Women Barristers Association

Victorian Bar endorses National Equality of Opportunity briefing policy


Sue Crennan QC second female High Court judge


10th anniversary of the appointment of the first woman to the Supreme Court, Justice Rosemary Balmford

Inaugural national Australian Women Lawyers (AWL) conference in Sydney


Tenth year anniversary of AWL

Third woman, Justice Susan Kiefel (Federal Court), appointed to the High Court of Australia.


Fourth woman, Justice Virginia Bell (NSW Supreme Court), appointed to the High Court of Australia (sworn in on 3 February 2009, replacing retiring Justice Michael Kirby).

* Source: Women Barristers Association
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