History of Women Lawyers Association of Tasmania

1976 – 1979

The first meeting of Women Lawyers Association of Tasmania was held on 17 May 1976. At that meeting the following people were elected as office bearers: ​

  • ​President – Helene Matterson
  • Secretary – Miriam Court
  • Treasurer – Mary Hodgson
  • Vice President – Judy Griffits
  • Public Relations Officer – Anne Direen

Meetings continued until 10 June 1979.


The organisation was reformed in 1985. This followed a meeting at Ross on 24 February 1985 a motion was passed that the association was a viable proposition and should be continued. At that meeting it was also agreed that a steering committee would redraft the constitution and present it to the annual general meeting.​

In 1985 the following persons were elected office bearers:​

  • ​President – Veronika Maddock
  • Vice President and Treasurer – Anne Direen
  • Secretary – Audrey Mills
  • Northern Representative – Josephine Kelly

An AGM was held on 19 October 1985 and motion was passed that the new constitution be accepted.


Further discussion about the constitution took place in 1993. At a meeting of the organisation on 9 June 1993 a redrafted constitution was adopted.​

The current constitution is available here.

2003 – 2008

The Women Lawyers Association of Tasmania was incorporated in 2002.​

In 2008 the organisation changed its name to Tasmanian Women Lawyers.

Present Day

Now in its 40s, Tasmanian Women Lawyers has hit its stride. 

TWL has got a strong committee with women from all stages of their careers and with a great regional representation – including three committee members based in Launceston. The AGM in 2017 was the first to be held in multiple locations with members attending from Staffordshire House in Launceston via the wonders of the internet.​

This year, 2018, sees the introduction of a new patron, Professor Margaret Otlowski, and a new emphasis on a whole-of-career approach to women’s participation in the legal profession – from university to retirement. With the launch of a new website including for the first time a searchable Find a Female Lawyer directory, TWL is building opportunities for women lawyers and improving diversity in the provision of legal services across this State.​

On the national stage, TWL continues to be an influential member of Australian Women Lawyers and is looking forward to co-hosting the 2020 AWL Conference in Melbourne with our Victorian colleagues, Victorian Women Lawyers and the Women’s Bar Association.