Obituary - Dr Ann Rosemary Shorten


Bar Roll No 2402

It is with deep regret that the Bar Council informs members of the death on 5 April 2014 of Dr Ann Rosemary Shorten. Ann was 79 (born, 15 January 1935).

Ann Shorten went to the University of Melbourne on a teacher’s scholarship. After graduation BA, Dip Ed, she taught first in Victoria, and then in England. She became a School Principal. She completed graduate work in Education at Melbourne – B Ed, then M Ed. She was then a Lecturer in History at the University College of Townsville and Principal of the Women’s Hall of Residence.

Ann began teaching in the Faculty of Education at Monash University, part-time in 1968; full-time from 1972. She earned her Ph D at Monash in 1976; and rose to the career-grade rank of Senior Lecturer.

Professor Alan Gregory AM, former Sub-Dean and now Adjunct Professor in the Monash Faculty of Education, described Ann as “a brilliant scholar”; “an outstanding historian”; and one who “did much in the Faculty to further the cause of women”.

In 1985, Ann Shorten graduated LL B from Monash with first class honours, winning the Supreme Court Prize and the Flos Greig Memorial Prize – the year that her twin sons Robert and William (now leader of the Federal Opposition) began Economics/Law and Arts/Law respectively. She took the Leo Cussen Practical Training Course and came to the Bar in the September 1989 Readers Course, reading with the late Michael Kiernan. She practised at the Bar for 6 years. Her brother and nephew, George QC and Michael McGrath are at our Bar.

In 1991, she was the founder of the Australian & New Zealand Education Law Association. With Professor Ian Ramsay, she co-authored the leading Butterworths text Education & the Law (1996). She was a driving force in the Association. In 2009, ANZELA established the annual Ann Shorten Doctoral Award for the best thesis in education law research. In 2012, she was honoured as the first Life Member of the Association.

A Funeral Mass was celebrated at the Xavier College Chapel (where she had sent her sons to school) on Tuesday 15 April 2014.
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