The Honourable Dame Roma Flinders Mitchell
Roma Mitchell was Australia’s first female judge. Born in Adelaide in 1913, she followed her father’s footsteps and won a scholarship to study law at the University of Adelaide. She was one of only 10 graduates, and the only woman, who successfully found employment during the difficult Depression era.
Roma served as a barrister for 28 years, specialising in matrimonial law and eventually became a partner in a law firm. In 1962, she became the first Australian woman to be appointed Queen’s Counsel, a title recognising her expertise and seniority. In 1965 Roma became a judge in the Supreme Court. She remained the only women to be appointed a judge in an Australian superior court during her 18 years of service and made many significant contributions to landmark cases and reports.
Dame Roma Mitchell supported legislative action aimed at the equality of women, lobbied for and chaired the Human Rights Commission and endlessly strove to encourage more women to take up academic appointments. Roma became the first woman to be appointed Governor of South Australia in 1991 and was a well-loved figure.
Katheryn Leopoldseder, Roma Mitchell hair brooch, 2011.
Nylon hair, oxidised 925 silver and stainless steel.
Photograph Rod Buchholz.
Katheryn Leopoldseder created a brooch symbolising the legal wig, exploring the symbolic notion of hair and the way in which Roma symbolically exchanged her own hair for the legal wig and the leadership and authority associated with it. The brooch was crafted using nylon hair, oxidized 925 silver and stainless steel.[i]
Don’t miss your chance to see this brooch and many more!
Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor: 100 Woman 100 Brooches 100 Stories is on show from 26 October - 15 December 2013 at Hurstville Museum & Gallery.
Visit our website for more information.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor is an artisan travelling exhibition, toured by Museum & Gallery Services Queensland.
[i] Information taken from Franzidis, Evie: Tales of 100 Inspirational Australian Women, in: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor: 100 Women, 100 Brooches, 100 Stories, artisan, Fortitude Valley, Queensland, 2011, p. 84.