HerStory Archive

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Also known as: née Kitson

Born: 9/12/1893

Died: 18/10/1971

Special Achievements:

1921 - First female in British Empire to be made a Notary Public.  Her application led to a change in the law, as the Act at that time did not include women as "persons."

1950 - Awarded Order of the British Empire for services to Child Welfare.

1959 - Awarded Companion of the British Empire for public service in connection with the United Nations.

Additional Information:

1917 - Mary became South Australia's first female lawyer.

1925 - Mary formed a new legal partnership with Dorothy Somerville, in what was the first female legal partnership in Australia.

In 1927, following the failure of her marriage, Mary worked as a legal editor.  In 1941 she became a member of the Child Welfare Advisory Council (NSW), held many honorary positions and served on a number of boards.  In 1950 Mary was appointed chief of the office of the status of women in the division of human rights, United Nations Secretariat, New York.


  • References

    Nugent, Maria.  (2002).  Women’s Employment and Professionalism in Australia:  Histories, Themes and Places.  Canberra, ACT:  Australia Heritage Commission, p. 74.
    “Earliest sections of the convent were built as a poor school, and were associated with Mary McKillop and J. E. Tension Woods, who founded the Institute of The Sisters of St Joseph.”