Mrs Una Prentice




Mrs. Una Gailey Prentice has served this University and this State for many years. She is perhaps best known today as the Foundation Secretary of the Alumni Association, a position to which since 1967 she has contributed so much energy and effective leadership. She is also a longstanding member of the Standing Committee of Convocation and of the University Library Committee.

Her major claim to fame, although it is not generally known, is that in 1938 she became the first graduate, and thus the irrst woman graduate, of the newly established Faculty of Law. She was the only woman among the 3 students who graduated that year and was the irrst to be presented to the Chancellor. Mrs. Prentice, or Una Bick as she then was, had already graduated as a Bachelor of Arts in 1936. She had been an active sportswoman representing at inter-Varsity level in hockey and swimming.

Her path into the legal profession was not an easy one. Indeed, after many frustrated attempts at obtaining articles, she eventually took the job of cataloguing the legal library of the late Chief Justice, Sir James Blair. This had recently been acquired by the University. Eventually, largely as a result of the enlistment in the Anned Forces of many practising lawyers, she was offered a position in the Commonwealth Crown Solicitor's new office in Brisbane. In this position, she was employed on the only female salary scale, that of typist, combining her legal duties with that of office bookkeeper. Somewhat later, a reclassific­ation saw her transferred to the Legal Officer scale, of course at a lower rate than her male colleagues. Mrs. Prentice has created several precedents: she was the first woman law graduate to be admitted to the Queensland Bar - she was also later admitted to the Bar of the High Court of Australia - and the irrst f ernale barrister to appear as a prosecutor on behalf of the Commonwealth Government.

After the war, anticipating her dismissal and replacement by a returned serviceman, she resigned to join the irrm of Stephens and Tozer, Solicitors, of which her husband, Tony, is now senior partner. She served on many associations and societies, including terms as the President and Vice-President of the Australian Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs.

Mr. Chancellor, for her distinguished service to the cause of women, to the legal profession, and to the University, I present to you Una Gailey Prentice, Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws of this University, Foundation Honorary Secretary of the Alumni Association, for the award of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, to which she has been admitted by the Senate of the University.


Doctor of Laws honoris causa