1993, 26 Minutes
Born in Adelaide in 1913, Roma Mitchell was the daughter of a solicitor killed in the First World War. Roma's mother, who believed in tertiary education for women, put her through a law course at the University of Adelaide during the early years of the Depression. She graduated in December 1934, and the following February began as a barrister with an Adelaide law firm.
During the 1930s she did much work in the field of domestic violence. At first, Dame Roma says, her main aim was simply to be a good barrister. In 1962 she became the first Australian woman to be admitted as a Queen's Counsel. Then, in 1965, she became a judge of the Supreme Court of South Australia, the first woman in Australia to be appointed to that position. She also led a deputation of women seeking the right for women to serve as jurors.
Among other appointments, Dame Roma has been Chair of the Human Rights Commission, President of the Churchill Fellowship and Chancellor of the University of Adelaide. She was awarded the OBE in 1971 and in 1991 was appointed Governor of South Australia, again becoming the first woman in Australia to hold that post.
A Film Australia National Interest Program. © 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.
NB The Australian Biography series (1-11) are only available for sale within the territories of Australia and New Zealand.
Running Time: 26 Minutes
Curriculum Links: Legal Studies, Human Society and Its Environment/Studies of Society and Environment, Career Studies, History and English.