The story of how Australia came to have a woman on the bench of its highest court has an unlikely first chapter. It starts with a young girl in northern New South Wales, dawdling to avoid chores from her mother.
It was the middle of 1951 and Mary Gaudron had seen her father among a group gathered around a blue Holden ute in Moree’s Jellicoe Park, on the banks of the Mehi River. They were listening to an impassioned speech delivered by a man standing on the vehicle’s tray. The subject was the looming referendum on constitutional powers to ban communism in Australia. The speaker was barnstorming opposition leader H.V. Evatt.
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