Barbara Holborow

2008 Ambassador of the Muswellbrook Shire Australia Day Awards


Former Children’s Court Magistrate

In 1982 Barbara Holborow was appointed to the Bench where she remained as a Children’s Court Magistrate in Sydney for twelve years. She spent a good part of her magisterial career presiding over the toughest children’s courts. Every day she viewed life as few people have witnessed it. She saw the abused and the abusers, the pathetic, the humorous and the tragic. She had great moments and horrid moments, dealing not only with children, but also the adults who were their parents, their protectors, their friends and sometimes their enemies.

Always interested in children’s rights, Barbara was integral in the establishment of free legal aid for all children in 1973. From then on she championed the cause of children, working almost exclusively in the Children’s Courts. Barbara despaired at the inadequacy of the justice system as it related to children. She fought to bring about changes and is proud of what she achieved.

Barbara graduated from Sydney University and went immediately into private practice in Glebe. At that time Glebe was the working man’s suburb and it was here she honed her courtroom skills.

Barbara was instrumental in setting up the only Care Court in Australia, matters involving crime were not heard at the Care Court, it was devoted solely to the hearing of complaints of the neglect of children.

Barbara’s opinions are regularly sought by the media – she was a familiar face on The Midday Show and appears on The Today Show, Today Tonight, 7.30 Report, 4 Corners, A Current Affair and had her own segment on Radio 2GB. For six years Barbara wrote a weekly column for That’s Life Magazine entitled Emotionally Yours. Readers responded from all over Australia.

In 2002 Barbara received an OAM in recognition of her work with children and their families.

Barbara’s life has been enriched with many stories, many of which are told in her published books about her years on the Bench.

Barbara’s opinions are highly respected and she is a sought after speaker, addressing audiences from all sectors of the community – both corporate and private to deliver her inspirational, emotionally charged and thought provoking message.

On a more personal note, Barbara has fostered eight children and is Patron of 9 Children’s charities and believes that every child is the responsibility of everybody.

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