The Honourable Justice Linda Dessau AC, Governor of Victoria
The Honourable Linda Dessau was born in Melbourne and educated at St Catherine’s School. She gained the degree of LLB (Hons) from the University of Melbourne and was admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria in 1975.
She practised in commercial litigation and family law, signing the Roll of Counsel at the Victorian Bar in 1978. In 1982 she married fellow barrister, Anthony Howard, and together they took up roles as Crown Counsel, and later Senior Crown Counsel in the Hong Kong Attorney-General’s chambers, where they prosecuted criminal trials.
Soon after returning to Australia in 1985, she was appointed a part-time member of the Small Claims and Residential Tenancies Tribunals, taking her first judicial appointment as a Magistrate in 1986, at the age of 33. In that role, she served in the Children’s Court, Coroners Court and Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.
In June 1995, she was appointed a Judge of the Family Court of Australia, where she served for 18 years. During that time she chaired, or participated in, various national projects within and outside the Court. She also held a number of Board appointments and was actively engaged in the area of judicial education.
Outside the law, she was engaged in a variety of community roles, including founding Chair of the Essendon Football Club Women’s Network, President of Middle Park Primary School Council, Vice-President of Wesley College Council, Board member of Turning Point Drug and Alcohol Centre and a Patron of the Epilepsy Foundation and One Umbrella. She has also served as President of the Melbourne Festival, Chair of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Victorian Regional Committee, Commissioner of the Australian Football League, Trustee of the National Gallery of Victoria, Chair of AFL Sportsready and Artsready, Board member of the Unicorn Foundation and Patron of Sports Connect.
In 2010 she was made a Member of the Order of Australia for services to family law, and the community.
In 2017 she was made a Companion of the Order of Australia for eminent service to the people of Victoria through leadership roles in the judiciary, to the advancement of economic ties and business relationships, and as a supporter of charitable, sporting and arts organisations.
The Honourable Linda Dessau and her husband, Judge Howard, have two sons, both of whom have completed Bachelors of Laws and Arts at Monash University.
Updated January 2017