Mollie Whitehouse

7 September 1911
Queensland, Australia
21 April 2005
Queensland, Australia
Lawyer, Legal officer, Public servant and Solicitor
Alternative Names
  • Kidner, Mary Eugenie (birth name)
  • Whitehouse, Mary Eugenie

Mary (Mollie) Eugenie Whitehouse was the sixth woman to be admitted as a solicitor in Queenslend, on 26 September 1939. She served her articles between 1930 and 1939 with a firm in Warwick, Queensland (Messrs Neil O'Sullivan and Neville), completing her legal studies via correspondence while caring for her sick father. Firmly believing that all women should have an occupation, he willingly financed her training.

Whitehouse attempted to join the armed forces during World War 2, but was excluded due to poor eyesight. After performing temporary work as a typist in an army records office, she was employed as a temporary legal officer in the newly established Crown Solicitor's office in Brisbane. She left the office when she married Eric Whitehouse in August 1944. Mollie had six children, the first of which died at birth in 1945.

The Whitehouses purchased the Pender and Pender (later Pender and Whitehouse) in 1951. While raising five children, Mollie worked for the firm in a variety of capacities, increasing her workload once her youngest child started school. By the time they had all completed school, she was working full-time. She continued to practise until 1989, fifty years after her admission.

Mollie Whitehouse was a founding member of the Queensland Women Lawyers Association. She always regarded herself as 'a lawyer who was a woman, not a woman lawyer'.

Sources used to compile this entry: Kerwin, Hollie and Rubenstein, Kim, 'Law', in The Encyclopedia of Women and Leadership in Twentieth-Century Australia, Judith Smart and Shurlee Swain (eds), Australian Women's Archives Project, 2014,; Purdon, Susan and Rahemtula, Aladin (eds), A Woman's Place: 100 Years of Queensland Women Lawyers, Supreme Court of Queensland Library, Brisbane, 2005.

Prepared by Nikki Henningham