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Pioneering female lawyer remembered

Patricia Conroy was a long-time member of the QLS Council. This photo was taken for the 1996-1997 Council.

Former Mount Isa lawyer Patricia Conroy is being remembered as a pioneer as the first woman to practise in north-western Queensland.

Patricia was a wife, mother, and one half of Conroy and Conroy Solicitors, the firm she established with her husband Martin in 1966 after her admission to the Supreme Court of Queensland in 1965.

Born in 1936, Patricia sadly passed away last week. Friends are invited to attend the requiem mass at St Ignatius Catholic Church, Kensington Terrace, Toowong, on Wednesday, 20 December, at 10am.

In an interview with the National Library of Australia as part of its Trailblazing Women and the Law Oral History Project, she said: “The goals I set for myself were to achieve a balanced life, to have a happy marriage and be a reasonable mother and at the same time have a rewarding professional life.”

Patricia was an active member in the Mt Isa community, serving the public as a Mt Isa City Council Alderman, also Vice President of the North West Law Association, Foundation President of the Mount Isa Welfare Council, and a founding member of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Legal Service, Mt Isa.

The couple also raised four children – James, Caitlin, Tim and Anna.

The Trailblazing Women article reported that “there was plenty of work to be done and the Conroys quickly established themselves as hardworking and caring counsel”.

“The mining town environment created a diverse professional landscape; from crime to conveyance and commercial work, the tragedy of personal injury and estate settlements and the complexity of family law, the Conroys handled the full complement of legal matters one could expect in a regional community.

“In so doing, it became apparent to Patricia the number of services, such as social workers, or marriage and financial guidance counsellors, Mt Isa lacked, because she seemed to be providing many of these services herself!”

The article also pointed out the difference Patricia made personally using her “clout” to make a difference in people’s lives.

“One of the great advantages of being a lawyer especially living in a country town, is that the public observes you to have flexibility and clout…”

After 14 years in Mount Isa, the Conroys moved to Gympie and then in 1985 they moved to Brisbane where they established Conroy and Associates at Toowong, and where they practised until retirement.

Patricia was a member of the Queensland Law Society (QLS) Council from 1996 to 2004, and the Professional Standards committee. In recent times, she was an QLS honorary member. She was a founding member of the Queensland Women Lawyers Association.

Patricia was a member of several boards including the SEQEB Board of Directors and Powerlink Board’s Remuneration Committee.

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