Mary Tenison Woods (née Kitson)
Mary Kitson was born in 1893 in the South Australian town of Caltowie. The family moved to Adelaide and Mary attended St Aloysius College from 1906 to 1910, where she was both head prefect and dux of the school.
In 1912, Mary was the only female law student at the University of Adelaide and in 1917, became the first woman to practice law in South Australia. She practised as a barrister for several years before applying to be a public notary, a role that had been restricted to men. A change in the law, which didn’t recognise women as ‘persons’, allowed her to be appointed to the office.
After her marriage to (Julian) Gordon Tenison Woods in 1924, she left the law firm as her partners preferred not to work with a married woman and joined Dorothy Somerville in the first law firm composed solely of female partners.