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Somerville, Dorothy Catherine (1897 - 1992)

AM, BA (Hons), LLB

Born
12 May 1897
Unley, South Australia, Australia
Died
1992
Occupation
Lawyer and Solicitor

Summary

The daughter of Archibald and Seca (née Lewin) Somerville, Dorothy Somerville was educated at Brownhill Creek School in Mitcham, the Methodists Ladies College (now Annesley College) and the Adelaide Law School. She was the third woman admitted to practice law in South Australia in 1922. Mary Kitson, the first woman admitted to the Bar, joined with Somerville in 1925 to form Australia's first women's legal partnership: Kitson & Somerville. Kitson later went to Sydney to work in publishing, and in 1950 she moved to New York to take charge of the United Nations affairs on the Status of Women. Somerville, who continued with the legal practice, became an honorary solicitor to a number of women's organisations.

Details

Events

1919
Graduated Bachelor of Arts (BA) (Hons) from Adelaide University
1921
Foundation Member of the Lyceum Club (Adelaide) Incorporated
1922
Graduated Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from Adelaide University
1925
Honorary solicitor to the South Australian Women's Croquet Association
1925
Solicitor in private practice
1925 - 1971
Honorary solicitor to the Country Women's Association (SA)
1925 - 1974
Honorary solicitor to the South Australian Women's Hockey Association
1945
Honorary solicitor to the Wanslea Inc (Emergency Homes for Children)
1945
Honorary Life member of the South Australian Women's Hockey Association
1948 - 1975
Honorary solicitor to the Australian Croquet Council
1955
Honorary solicitor to the Women's Memorial Playing Fields
1971
Honorary Life member of the Lyceum Club (Adelaide) Incorporated
26 January 1986
Appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for service to the Legal profession and to the community

Sources used to compile this entry: Lofthouse, Andrea (ed.), Who's Who of Australian Women, Methuen Australia, North Ryde (NSW), 1982, 504 pp; National Council of Women of South Australia, Greater than their knowing: a glimpse of South Australian women 1836-1986, Wakefield Press, Netley, SA, 1986, 310 pp.

Related entries

Membership

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Related Women

  • Zelling, Sesca Ross (1918 - 2001)

    Sesca Zelling was a niece of Dorothy Somerville, to whom she was articled, making Miss Somerville the first women in Australia to take a woman as an articled clerk

Archival resources

National Library of Australia

  • [Biographical cuttings on Dorothy Somerville, solicitor]; National Library of Australia. Details

State Library of South Australia, Mortlock Library of South Australiana

  • Interview with Dorothy Somerville [sound recording] Interviewer: Yvonne Abbott, c. 1986, SRG 438/29/12; Somerville, Dorothy Catherine (1897 - 1992); State Library of South Australia, Mortlock Library of South Australiana. Details

Anne Heywood and Robin Secomb

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

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The Australian Women's Register is published quarterly by the Australian Women's Archives Project
ISSN 2207-3124