Gladys Adeline Hain

1 July 1887
Maldon, Victoria, Australia
6 March 1962
Carlton, Victoria, Australia
Barrister, Lawyer, Solicitor and Women's rights activist
Alternative Names
  • Taylor, Gladys Adeline (birth name)

In 1954 Gladys Hain signed the Victorian Bar Roll, becoming the fifth woman to do so. She had previously been a solicitor with Sir James McCay (his daughter Beatrix was the second woman at the Victorian Bar), as well as a journalist with the Argus newspaper, and a president of the Housewives' Association of Victoria. During the 1920s, Hain campaigned for standardisation of divorce laws and was a legal advisor to women's groups on subjects such as prostitution, and the adoption of children.

Hain graduated from law school in 1912, completed her articles with James McCay and then set herself up as a solicitor in private practice. She married in 1915 and did not practise law again until after her husband, a veteran of the First World War, died in 1947. Even then it wasn't until the 1950s that she resumed her law practice, first as a solicitor and from 1955 as a barrister. At the same time she became more actively involved in women's organizations. As a journalist she had been radical in politics, a 'fighter for the ordinary people'.

In 1952 Hain was elected fourth president of the Housewives' Association of Victoria and was for six years federal president of the Federated Housewives' Association of Australia. She campaigned for better conditions for housewives, lobbying producer and government groups for better prices and quality of essential food items such as bread. She was a representative of the Dairy Products' Board and in 1956 was appointed to the royal commission on the Victorian Housing Commission.

She died in 1962, after receiving treatment for cancer and breaking her leg in a subsequent fall.

Sources used to compile this entry: 'Hain, Gladys Adeline (1887-1962)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, 2006,; Berkovic, Nicola, 'Lawyer scared the pants of the establishment', The Australian, 13 June 2014, p. 5; Women Barristers in Victoria: Then and Now, 2007,; Williams, Gordon, 'Woman of the year: she's a crusader!', The Argus, 23 December 1954, p. 4,

Prepared by Ariel Couchman