Quentin Bryce was born in Brisbane in 1942 and spent her early years in Ilfracombe, a small town in Central Western Queensland. In 1965, she graduated with the degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws from The University of Queensland and, in the same year, was admitted to the Queensland Bar. She has since enjoyed a rich and distinguished career as an academic, lawyer, community and human rights advocate, senior public officer, university college principal, and vice-regal representative in Queensland, and now Australia.
Ms Bryce’s former roles – some, among firsts for women in this country – include:
- Lecturer and Tutor in Law, The University of Queensland, 1968-1983
- Convenor, National Women’s Advisory Council, 1982-1984
- Inaugural Director, Queensland Women’s Information Service, Office of the Status of Women, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, 1984-1987
- Director, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Queensland, 1987-1988
- Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 1988-1993
- founding Chair and CEO, National Childcare Accreditation Council, 1993-1996
- Principal and CEO, The Women's College, University of Sydney, 1997-2003
- Governor of Queensland, 2003-2008
Quentin Bryce’s contribution to advancing human rights and equality, the rights of women and children, and the welfare of the family was recognised in her appointment as an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1988 and a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2003. Also in 2003, she was invested as a Dame of Grace of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem. On 25 March 2014, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that Ms Bryce had become a Dame in the Order of Australia.
Ms Bryce was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws by Macquarie University (New South Wales) in 1998, an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by Charles Sturt University (New South Wales) in 2002, and an Honorary Doctorate of Laws by The University of Queensland in 2006.
She was conferred with the degrees of Honorary Doctor of the University by Griffith University (Queensland) in 2003, Queensland University of Technology in 2004 and an Honorary Doctorate from James Cook University in 2008.
In 2010 Ms Bryce received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws, Sydney University, and an Honorary Doctorate of Letters, University of Western Sydney in 2012. In 2013 she was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws, Melbourne University.
In her civic role as Governor of Queensland, Ms Bryce continued her work with women, families and young people while extending her influence across the State’s broad and diverse spectrum, including the rural, regional, aged, indigenous, migrant, and disability sectors.
As a mother and grandmother, Ms Bryce is a role model and mentor to women at every stage of their lives. She values and encourages women’s capacity to form strong and enduring bonds of friendship, intellectual and emotional enrichment, and mutual support in their roles within the family, workplace and community.
On 5 September 2008 Quentin Bryce was sworn in as Australia’s twenty-fifth Governor-General. As the first woman to take up the office, she remains a pioneer in contemporary Australian society, and yet one who brings more than forty years of experience in reform, community building and leadership to the role.
Quentin Bryce and her husband, Michael, were married in 1964.
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