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

Ridsdale, Mary (1924 - 2007)

Lawyer and Solicitor
Alternative Names
  • Clancy, Mary Cecilia (birth name)


Mary Risdale was admitted to practice as a legal practitioner in Melbourne on the 1st April, 1947. After many years as an employed solicitor and raising six children, Mary moved to Papua New Guinea in 1975.

There she spent six years with the Public Solicitor's Office appearing for defendants in the Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea. For four years she managed the Public Solicitor's Office in Rabaul and travelled all over New Guinea on the Supreme Court Circuit.

In 1975, Mary was appointed as the first solicitor to the newly established Katherine Regional Aboriginal Legal Aid Service. In this capacity she appeared regularly in the Magistrates Court in Katherine and the Supreme Court in Darwin. Through her dedication and industry the service provided very comprehensive and competent legal representation for Aboriginal people living in Katherine and surrounding communities.

Mary moved to Alice Springs in 1989 to take up employment as a solicitor with Stone and Buckley, now known as Morgan Buckley. She continued in full time practice as a solicitor with this firm for 10 years.

In 1997 Mary was appointed as a member of the Liquor Commission, now the Racing, Gaming and Licensing Commission. She remained as a member of the Commission until 2002.

Sources used to compile this entry: Stone, Josephine, 'Vale Mary Cecilia Ridsdale', in Balance: Journal of the Northern Territory Law Society, 28 August 2007,; Thomas, Sally, 'Mary Risdale [sic], Lawyer Since 1947', in Themis, November 2004,

Larissa Halonkin

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