Honourable Justice Mary Gaudron AC

Honourable Justice Mary Gaudron became the first female Justice of the High Court of Australia in 1987.

Honour Roll

Mary Gaudron was born on 5 January 1943, in Moree, New South Wales. She was educated at St Ursula's College in Armidale and Sydney University where she graduated with an LLB (Hons) and won the University Law Medal in 1965. Three years later she was admitted to the New South Wales bar.

In 1973, Mary successfully argued the equal pay case before the Arbitration Commission. She became a judge and from 1974-80 was Deputy President of the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. In 1979, she was appointed first chair of the Legal Services Commission of New South Wales. In 1981, Mary became a Queen's Counsel and the Solicitor General for New South Wales and in 1987 became the first woman Justice of the High Court of Australia. She was a member of the full bench that handed down the historic Mabo decision in 1993.

In March 1998, Mary was overlooked for the appointment as Chief Justice of the High Court. This broke with the tradition of appointing the next most senior judge to that position, previously broken only for political reasons. Fourteen years after her appointment she remains the only woman High Court judge in Australia. Mary is an inspiration to women in law across Australia. She still speaks out occasionally and effectively on the need for equity for women in the legal profession and in the courts.