Australian Women's Register

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Exhibitions

  • Australian Women Lawyers as Active Citizens

Bernard, Ann Isobel Alice 'Daisy' (1895 - 1973)

Born
1895
Lake Cargelligo, New South Wales, Australia
Died
20 October 1973
Concord, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation
Barrister, Law clerk, Lawyer, Pilot, Shooting champion and Solicitor
Alternative Names
  • Bernard, Isabella (alternative spelling)
  • Bernard, Isobel Alice Ingman (full name as given by interviewee Karam Ramrahka)
  • Davis, Ann Isobel Alice (birth name)

Summary

The third woman to actively practise at the New South Wales Bar, Ann Bernard (nee Davis) had a number of uncommon strings to her bow, including being a pilot and prize-winning shooter. Married to Lionel Bernard, a returned First World War serviceman, she lived in Fiji in the 1920s and '30s and worked as a law clerk to the then governor, Sir Henry Scott. In 1938, she went to Oxford to study law. Considered to have a first-rate legal mind, on 25 June 1941 she was admitted to Middle Temple amid scenes of great destruction wrought by recent Second World War bombings of the Temple's buildings. On 29 October 1941, she was called to the New South Wales Bar, whereupon she proceeded to be involved in some of that decade's high-profile cases, including acting for suffragette, Adela Pankhurst Walsh. Bernard returned to Fiji in 1954, adopted a daughter, Angela, and established a wide practice for which she gained a reputation for taking on unpopular causes. In 1973, following her retirement to Concord, Sydney in the 1960s, she was tragically killed by a car while out walking one afternoon. Bernard's portrait by Mary Edwards hangs in the New South Wales Bar Association's Common Room.

Sources used to compile this entry: New woman barrister was in bomb blitz, The Newcastle Sun, 30 October 1941, http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/167482053; Brodsky, Juliette, 'Ann Bernard Biography', in Pioneering Women at the NSW Bar: 1921-1975, New South Wales Bar Association, 2011, http://www.nswbar.asn.au/the-bar-association/pioneering-women/#/5_ann_bernard; Pioneering Women at the NSW Bar: 1921-1975, New South Wales Bar Oral History, with Brodsky, Juliette, New South Wales Bar Association, 2011, http://www.nswbar.asn.au/the-bar-association/pioneering-women/; Brodsky, Juliette, 'Ann Bernard Memoir: Karam Ramrahka - Memoir of Ann Bernard, recorded 19 July 2010', Pioneering Women at the NSW Bar 1921-1975, New South Wales Bar Association, http://www.nswbar.asn.au/the-bar-association/pioneering-women/#/5_ann_bernard, accessed online 20 April 2016; Brodsky, Juliette, 'Ann Bernard Interview: Interview with John Davis (Ann Bernard's son-in-law)', 28 June 2010, Pioneering Women at the NSW Bar 1921-1975, New South Wales Bar Association, http://www.nswbar.asn.au/the-bar-association/pioneering-women/#/5_ann_bernard, accessed online 20 April 2016.

Juliette Brodsky and Marina Loane

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