1950 - 1951
1952-1956 BPW International
Occupation: Lawyer and Barrister
At the 3rd National Conference held from the 28 to 30 January in 1950, Una Prentice was elected National President.
Una Prentice was the first woman law graduate admitted to the Bar of the Queensland Supreme Court, first woman admitted to the Bar of the High Court, and first female Commonwealth Prosecutor.
Having already completed her Bachelor of Arts, Una Prentice was one of four people to enrol in the newly established law course at the University of Queensland in 1936. On 29 April 1938 Una Prentice became the first female graduate from the Faculty of Law at the University of Queensland.
Over the next two years legal firms showed no interest in her, as either a solicitor or barrister. Finally Una received an offer from the University of Queensland to catalogue the vast book collection of Sir James Blair, who had just retired as Chief Justice. This collection became the nucleus of the Law Library of the University of Queensland
When World War II broke out, and because of an associated skills shortage, Una was offered a job with the Commonwealth Crown Solicitor. In 1942 she became the first female lawyer to be employed in the Department, performing legal duties as well as being the office bookkeeper. Despite her prestigious position, Una was paid as a typist - the only salary scale the department had for women. After a few years Una eventually was paid a proportion of the legal officer's scale
Una Prentice then became Australian President of the Business and Professional Women's Association and attended an international conference, touring England for eight months talking about the status of women in Australia. Una married Tony Prentice, a barrister, in 1946 and they both practised law until Una's legal career was cut short, due to the birth of their son Roger. With no provision for working mothers at that time, Una was contented to stay home and raise her son and actively involve herself in a number of community organisations
Una Prentice is honoured by the University of Queensland, College of Law by the ‘Una Prentice Award’. The Award recognises the achievements of women at universities across Queensland.
As a result of a Conference Resolution in 1950, Una commenced the Federation’s work on:
· uniform divorce laws;
· the principle of equality, equal opportunities and responsibilities; and
· the abolition of the means test.
There were 26 Resolutions passed at the Conference and only one failed, which was about the formation of an Industrial Group within the Federation.
BPW Australia Board 1950 to 1951
President Miss Una Prentice
Vice Presidents Miss Audrey Turner, Miss Jean Randall, Miss Olive Barton, Miss J Stevenson,
Mrs Joan Rosanove, Miss Dorothy Steele, Miss Mary Cleary
Hon. Secretary Miss Jessie Robertson
Hon. Treasurer Miss Mary Kennedy
Publicity Miss Patience Thoms
International Relations Miss Nell Millane
Thank you to the women behind the BPW Australia Past President History Project:
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