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Joan Mavis Rosanove (Lazarus) 1896 – 1974, QC

Joan Mavis Rosanove (Lazarus) 1896 – 1974, QC

Joan Lazarus was born in Ballarat. Her father, Mark Aaron Lazarus, was a barrister and solicitor. She attended Loreto Convent Dawson Street in 1904 before attending Clarendon Ladies’ College.

In 1917 she was articled to her father and studied law at the University of Melbourne.

She married Emmanuel Rosanove, a dermatologist in 1920 and they had two daughters. In 1923 they moved to Melbourne and in September 1923 she became the first woman in Victoria to sign the Victorian Bar roll. She was Victoria’s first woman barrister and later first woman QC. Although unable to obtain rooms in the Selbourne Chambers and having difficulty obtaining briefs in the male-dominated profession, she established a successful practice with mainly matrimonial and criminal cases.

She was finally made a QC in 1965 after submitting a number of applications. In 1967 she took silk in New South Wales.

She continued to fight for legal reform affecting the status of women. She advocated uniform divorce laws in Australia and as president of the Soroptimists Club of Melbourne and the Business and Professional Women’s Club, she lobbied for women to be involved in social action.

(Reference: Australian Dictionary of Biography | Foley’s Barrister List