- Cairns, Queensland, Australia
- Barrister, Lawyer, Magistrate and Solicitor
Her Honour Nerida Wilson is a Magistrate based in the regional Queensland city of Mackay. Born, raised and educated in Cairns, her career in the law began in 1987 when she joined the Australian Federal Police, undertaking training in Canberra and then serving in Melbourne until 1994 when family circumstances brought her back to Cairns. In 1997 she fulfilled a childhood ambition to see the letters LLB beside her name by enrolling in law at Queensland University of Technology as a mature age student.
Upon graduation, Nerida worked as a solicitor in Mackay, (where she was by co-incidence, appointed to the bench in October 2015), before moving back to Cairns to practise. Nerida was called to the Bar in February 2008 and enjoyed a diverse practice in family, criminal and civil law. She also appeared at Inquests for parties and as Counsel Assisting the Coroner.
Nerida has been engaged in a number of important local community initiatives and organisations. She is a Past President of the Far North Qld Law Association and the Cairns Regional Domestic Violence Service. She lectured and tutored in family law at the Cairns campus of James Cook University. In the early 2000s Nerida developed an Annual Inter-Campus Moot Competition for students at James Cook University securing sponsorship for the event and attracting support from the local judiciary and senior legal practitioners.
Her standing in the community at large and capacity for managing change was acknowledged when she was elected President of the Cairns Golf Club in 2014, the first woman to hold the post in the club's 90 year history.
Nerida's contribution to the legal profession was acknowledged in 2013 when she was awarded the Regional Woman Lawyer of the Year Award by the Queensland Women Lawyers Association.She participated in the Queensland Women Lawyers 'Ladder Program' as a mentor for young women lawyers.
Her advice to all young women starting their careers in the law is to 'Surround yourself with good people. Get good mentors early on - people that you can trust'. She counts Magistrate Tina Previtera amongst her mentors and one of the many 'good people' she was fortunate to meet. Her advice to all young people, regardless of whether they plan to be lawyers or not, is to 'give life enough space to present opportunities to you. If we are too rigid, we are going to foreclose on so many rich, rich opportunities. Be open and embrace unexpected opportunities.'
Nerida Wilson was interviewed by Kim Rubenstein in the Trailblazing Women and the Law Oral History Project. For details of the interview see the National Library of Australia CATALOGUE RECORD.
Sources used to compile this entry: Nerida Wilson interviewed by Nikki Henningham in the Trailblazing women and the law oral history project, 2015, 6930708; National Library of Australia, Oral History and Folklore Collection; Newberry, David, Changing of the guard, Inside Golf, 12 March 2014, http://www.insidegolf.com.au/feature-articles/people/general_managers/changing-of-the-guard/; Swearing in Ceremony for Magistrate Wilson, 1 october 2015, Queensland Bar Assocation: https://www.qldbar.asn.au/docs/news/ADDRESS-Magistrates-Wilson_Ho_Delibaltas.pdf [accessed 2016-09-16].