Australian Women's Register

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

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  • Australian Women Lawyers as Active Citizens

Lidden, Mary Helen Elizabeth (1923 - )

Author, Barrister, Journalist, Lawyer and Solicitor
Alternative Names
  • Appleby, Mary Helen Elizabeth (Previous married name)
  • Coleman, Mary Helen Elizabeth (Birth Name)


Mary Helen Elizabeth Lidden (previously Appleby, nee Coleman) deserves credit for helping to increase the public's knowledge and understanding of the law through a series of articles she wrote in the 1970s for The Australian Women's Weekly, published under the name M.E. Lidden. Mary Coleman, as she was then, graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Arts in 1944. Admitted to the New South Wales Bar on 1 December 1950, the following month she was awarded the degree of Bachelor of Laws. By this time she was a widow - her husband, John Ambrose Mitchell Appleby, a student-at-law, had died on 28 April 1946 - and mother of a five-year-old daughter, Victoria. She did not practise at the Bar and on 24 November 1967 she was admitted as a solicitor; she worked at a number of firms in Sydney. In 1976 she was appointed a legal officer in the Department of Labour and Industry where she remained until 25 August 1978. Lidden was author of a book on wills and probate and co-author of another on conveyancing. She also wrote a novel and a number of self-help books.

Sources used to compile this entry: New South Wales Law Almanac for 1952, A. H. Pettifer, Government Printer, Sydney, 1952, p. 73; 1965, p. 105; 1968, p. 133; 1971 p. 140; 1973, pp. 175, 190; 1974, p. 144; 1975, pp. 189, 203; 1976, p. 132; 1977, pp. 178, 193; 1978, pp. 190, 221; 'M. E. Coleman', Austlit,, accessed online 18 February 2016; 'John Ambrose Mitchell Appleby - Date of Death 28/04/1946, Granted on 27/11/1946', State Records, New South Wales Government,, accessed online 8 March 2016; 'Legal Notices', The Sydney Morning Herald, Monday 15 July 1946, p. 11.

Marina Loane

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