Skip to main content

Dame Roma Mitchell AC DBE CVO

1913 – 2000

The Hon. Dame Roma Mitchell AC DBE CVO (1913-2000) was a jurist, constitutionalist and state governor. No other Australian woman was first to achieve so many official appointments, although she longed for the day when the appointment of a woman would not be noteworthy. In 1962 she became Australia's first female Queen's Counsel, and in 1965, on the recommendation of Don Dunstan, she was appointed Australia's first female Supreme Court judge. During the 1970s she chaired the Dunstan government's groundbreaking criminal law and penal methods reform committee, and was Chair of the Australian Human Rights Commission from 1981 to 1986. She became Australia's first female state governor when she became Governor of South Australia at the age of 77; she retired at 82. Mitchell was devoutly religious, and her career was characterised by compassion, generosity and integrity.

Updated 2018