Leneen Forde AC
In 1998, the Honourable Ms Leneen Forde AC was appointed to Chair the Commission of Inquiry into Abuse of Children in Queensland Institutions. The Commission of Inquiry has become known simply as the Forde Inquiry and it was the first inquiry into child abuse and neglect in institutions in Australia. The subsequent report was tabled in the Queensland Parliament in June 1999.
In the foreword of the report, Ms Forde dedicates the report to those who came forward to tell their stories and to all the victims of abuse in institutions and hoped that it would be a small step on the long road to healing and reparation.
The Forde Foundation was established in 2000 as a result of the Forde Inquiry and Ms Forde was the founding Chair of its Board of Advice. She held the position for seven years before accepting her current role as Patron of the Forde Foundation.
Prior to the Forde Inquiry, Ms Forde already had a distinguished career. Born Leneen Kavanagh in Ottawa, Canada, Ms Forde worked as a medical laboratory technician and studied part-time for a Bachelor of Arts before moving to Australia in 1954.
Ms Forde worked in the Haematology Department of Royal Brisbane Hospital for two years before commencing full-time legal study following her husband’s death in 1966. She graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Queensland in 1970 and began her career as a solicitor. From 1974 to 1992, she was a Partner of Cannan & Peterson legal practice and in charge of probate and estates.
Ms Forde was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia in 1993 and is a Dame of Grace in the Order of St John of Jerusalem. She was International President of Zonta from 1990 until 1992 and Queenslander of the Year in 1991. From 1992 to 1997, Ms Forde was the Governor of Queensland. She was the first woman to take on the role in Queensland and the second woman to be appointed to the position of Governor in Australia.
Ms Forde was the Chancellor of Griffith University for 15 years, from 2000 to 2015, and continues to serve her community.