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Quentin Bryce

In their own words

Recorded 2017

Quentin Bryce
Audio: 2 minutes

When I was about 16 I was pretty clear about what I wanted to do; it was a pretty bold, enormous ambition to change the world. I saw law as a way to go about it. There certainly were some knockbacks that I had. I mostly kept them to myself because, you know, we were brought up to be pretty stoic in a way, my generation. Little girls were to be seen and not heard, so you sort of took those knockbacks on the chin a bit. But amongst them were people whom I remember with respect and a deep affection, who were great supporters, who encouraged me and anything I’ve ever achieved in my life has been with wonderful support and encouragement.

But I have to say, I’m also very conscious of women who don’t have the supports and the opportunities and the encouragement that they need. And very often they are women living on the edges of our society in many ways. My mantra for a long time has been ‘You can have it all but not all at the same time’. I think that’s quite an important thing for women to remember when they are taking on all the responsibilities that they have and the hard road to fulfilling their ambitions, their hopes and their dreams.

So, I am very keen to do anything I can to support and encourage them quietly in the background. That’s what I like to focus on now, is this passing on to younger women the sort of help and guidance and encouragement particularly that was given to me by older women.

Acknowledgements

This recording was made during interviews for the National Portrait Gallery's Portrait Stories series.

Related information

Quentin Bryce

'To change the world'

Portrait story

Australia's 25th Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, discusses her childhood, career paths and her portrait by Michael Zavros.

Quentin Bryce
Quentin Bryce
Quentin Bryce
Quentin Bryce

In bloom

Magazine article by Susi Muddiman, 2017

Susi Muddiman delights in Michael Zavros’ stunning portrait of the honourable Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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