The second of four daughters, Quentin Bryce grew up in the small town of Ilfracombe, near Longreach, where all of the children in her family were home-schooled. Later moving to Brisbane, Quentin met her future husband Michael at school (they were married in 1964).
Graduating from the University of Queensland with a law degree, she worked as a lecturer at the university’s law school after living in London for a few years.
Quentin has worked in the area of advocacy and promotion of women’s rights for many years in positions such as Director of the Queensland Women’s Information Service and Queensland director of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC).
After five years as Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner during the time of the Hawke Labor government, she became the founding chair and CEO of the National Childcare Accreditation Council followed by CEO of The Women’s College within the University of Sydney.
In 2003, Quentin was appointed Governor of Queensland, the second woman to occupy the position. Premier Bligh praised her willingness to spend a “great deal of time” in regional and remote areas. In 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd appointed her as the first woman Governor-General of Australia for a four year term which was extended to 2014.
Quentin has also been the chair of the National Breast Cancer Advisory Council, sat on the Australian Women’s Cricket Board and a Member of the Australian Delegation to the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva.
As Governor General, Dame Quentin would write around 50 letters each week, and in 2017 she published a selection of the letters she received in a book titled Dear Quentin.