Australian Women's Register

An initiative of The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) in conjunction with The University of Melbourne

Skip to content


  • Australian Women Lawyers as Active Citizens

Thomas, Sally Gordon (1939 - )

The Honourable Justice, AM, AC

Cambridge, England
Administrator, Chief Magistrate, Judge, Lawyer and Magistrate


The Honourable Sally Thomas was the first woman to serve as a judge of the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory, serving from 1992 - 2009. After retiring from the bench, she was appointed Chief Administrator of the Northern Territory, being sworn in on 31 October 2011 at Parliament House, Darwin, by the then Governor-General of Australia, Ms Quentin Bryce AC.

As well as having a distinguished career in the judicial system, Her Honour was Chair of the Legal Aid Commission from 1990 to 1996, Chair of the Northern Territory Winston Churchill Fellowship Committee from 1992 to 2004 and in 2004 she was appointed Deputy National Chair Fellowship, of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. Commenting on her appointment as Chancellor of Charles Darwin University (CDU) on 1 January 2010, Vice Chancellor Barney Glover noted that '[h]er strong leadership, coupled with her extensive experience as a commited reformer and contributor to social justice within Australia and beyond will bring a new perspective to CDU.'

Sally Thomas was interviewed by Nikki Henningham for the Trailblazing Women and the Law Oral History Project. For details of the interview see the National Library of Australia CATALOGUE RECORD.


A longer essay detailing The Honourable Sally Thomas's career is in development.

Sources used to compile this entry: 'The Honourable Sally Thomas AC', in Celebrating 25 years of university in the NT, 2014,; Farewell Ceremonial Sitting for the Honourable Justice Sally Thomas - transcript of proceedings, 31 June 2009,; 'Thomas lands university head's job', Northern Territory News, 28 January 2010, p. 9,.

Related entries

Related Women

  • Oliver, Sue

    Sue Oliver and Sally Thomas are one of a group of five women who presided over Darwin courts for the first time, the largest female jurist contingent ever to sit in one place in the Northern Territory

  • Sievers, Sally (1965 - )

    Sally Sievers appeared before Chief Magistrate Sally Thomas when she was a barrister in the Northern Territory.

Archival resources

National Library of Australia, Oral History and Folklore Collection

  • Sally Thomas interviewed by Nikki Henningham in the Trailblazing women and the law oral history project, 17 September 2014 - 18 September 2014, ORAL TRC 6535/18; Thomas, Sally Gordon (1939 - ), Henningham, Nicola (1960 - ); National Library of Australia, Oral History and Folklore Collection. Details

Nikki Henningham

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

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

© Copyright in The Australian Women's Register is owned by the Australian Women's Archives Project
and vested in each of the authors in respect of their contributions from 2000

The Australian Women's Register is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License

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