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  • Australian Women Lawyers as Active Citizens

Bateman, Beatrice Mary (1917 - 1960)

30 December 1917
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
20 July 1960
Wollstonecraft, New South Wales, Australia
Barrister, Lawyer and Solicitor
Alternative Names
  • Bateman, Mrs Tom
  • McGirr, Beatrice (birth name)
  • Muffie (nickname)


One of nine children of prominent NSW Labour politician Gregory McGirr, Beatrice Bateman was the moving force behind the establishment of the Women Lawyers' Association of New South Wales in 1952. She attended the Loreto Convent in Kirribilli and graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1938, a Master of Arts in 1940 (study undertaken after she was prevented by the Law School from sitting her final exams due to being pregnant with her first child), and finally, a Bachelor of Laws in 1942. Bateman was admitted to practise on 31 July 1942, but being mother to seven meant that her practice was intermittent. She was an active fundraiser for a host of causes and represented Australia at the first International Congress of the World Movement of Mothers in 1950. During her final two years of practice at the Bar, she succeeded in defending a woman charged with murder. Bateman died suddenly in 1960 at the age of 43 following an asthma attack. Her daughter, Beatrice Gray (nee Bateman), was admitted to the Bar on 9 February 1968. A portrait of Beatrice Bateman by Sylvia Davis was a finalist in the 1942 Archibald Prize.

Sources used to compile this entry: Brodsky, Juliette, 'Beatrice Gray, interviewed by Juliette Brodsky, 1 July 2010 about both herself and her late mother, Beatrice Bateman', in Pioneering Women at the NSW Bar: 1921-1975, New South Wales Bar Association, 2011,; Brodsky, Juliette, 'A short history of the Women Lawyers' Association, courtesy of the Women Lawyers' Association'', in Pioneering Women at the NSW Bar: 1921-1975, New South Wales Bar Association, 2011,,; Women at the New South Wales Bar: The Years to 1975, 2011,; New South Wales Law Almanac for 1943, Sydney: Alfred Henry Pettifer, Acting Government Printer, 1943, p. 74; 1947, p. 71; 1954, pp. 71, 75; 1959, pp. 73, 79; 1960, pp. 74, 81; Calendar of the University of Sydney for the Year 1939, Sydney: Thomas Henry Tennant, Acting Government Printer, Publisher to the University, 1939, p. 586; 1941, p. 241; 1942, p. 215; Archibald Prize finalists 1942, The Art Gallery of NSW,, accessed online 19 February 2016; The Ryerson Index (See: 'Bateman, Beatrice Mary', The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 July 1960); Bede Nairn, 'McGirr, John Joseph (1879-1949)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1986, accessed online 9 February 2016; 'College Roll: Bateman, Thomas Patrick Gerard', The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons,, accessed online 21 March 2016.

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