Tributes have been pouring in for the highly regarded former judge and philanthropist Jane Mathews, who has died at the age of 78. Considered a trailblazer for women in the legal profession, Mathews was New South Wales’ first female Crown prosecutor and first female judge.

Jane Mathews

Born in Wollongong on December 19, 1940, Mathews studied law at the University of Sydney. Appointed a District Court Judge in 1980, aged 39, she became the first female judge of the NSW Supreme Court just seven years later. In 1994, Mathews became the second female president of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, which saw her appointment to the Federal Court. She would retire from the Federal Court in 2001 in order to return as an acting judge of the Supreme Court. Among her many honours include being made an officer of the Order of Australia in 2005 for service to judiciary, to the legal profession, to the University of New South Wales, and to music.

Mathews was known as an extraordinarily generous patron of the arts, especially in music. Among the organisations she supported were the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Opera Australia, Musica Viva,...

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