Australian Women Lawyers as Active Citizens

16 November 2016

The word archive has connotations of musty old collections of papers filed in a cardboard box the kids are likely to toss out when you fall off your perch. Treasures to you maybe but more rubbish for them. But one archive that sits in the wonderful world of digital delights is a treasure trove; a resource for history, information and the world of women who’ve made a mark on our society.

It’s the Australian Women’s Archive Project – The Australian Women’s Register, and is a project instigated by the National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) in conjunction with the University of Melbourne and established in 2000.

Launching their ‘exhibitions’ is a just like all digital platforms, just a bit difficult to engage with the community because unless you’re carrying your device, it seems remote. But be assured this archive is worth visiting if just for pleasure and definitely for research.

 The current online exhibition, Australian Women Lawyers as Active Citizens was launched at the Naational Library of Australia with the team who compiled the exhibition on hand to explain, demonstrate and encourage the perusal of this amazing collection of stories about a formidable range of women from the legal profession with many of those featured attending and some of the families of the trailblazing women too.

The project was led by Professor Kim Rubenstein of the ANU, with Gavan McCarthy and Helen Morgan from the University of Melbourne and features 500 women, using the resources of the Australian Women’s Lawyers, Family Court of Australia, Federal Court of Australia, NFAW and the National Library of Australia.

Among those featured on the site is Lyma Nguyen, a Barrister in Darwin and the first Australian woman to be admitted as International Counsel for Civil Parties in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). She was born in a refugee camp in Indonesia and most of her so very young life has been devoted to Human Rights. What a pleasure to meet her and stand in awe of her achievements and commitment at this launch.

And that is what this site will achieve; recognition for the 500 and a resource for us all in an ‘exhibition’ that is accessible and a credit to the team who produced