Rosemary Jacob was born in England in 1936 and her family benefitted from changes to the education system effected when Clement Attlee came to power post-WWII. Coming from a normal, middle-class home, she and her two older siblings were able to enjoy free education, with her brother going on from Cambridge to design aeroengines for Rolls Royce, her sister studying medicine and specialising in surgery, while Rosemary graduated in 1957 from Imperial College, London, with a BSc (Special) Mathematics.
From there, her career remained largely in the field of education, teaching maths at secondary level, on and off, until she and her husband, Martin, a qualified civil engineer, together with their three children, left the UK at the end of 1970 for Martin to take up the position of port engineer in Darwin.
Although they parted ways at the end of 1982, Rosemary always regards Darwin as home and ended her teaching career as a maths lecturer at Charles Darwin University in 2004, while overlapping in her last semester with commencing study in law.
She graduated in 2008 and was admitted as a barrister and solicitor at age 72 — older than the judges on the bench at her admission.
She practised mainly criminal law until mid-2012 and also worked as a mediator until late 2017.
Over her time in Darwin, she has been involved in a wide range of voluntary activities, serving on committees concerned with a wide range of community needs.
She rates her mother, who would never have even heard the word "feminist", as being the major influence in her life.
Another influence was the fact Rosemary’s parents were at opposite extremes of the political spectrum, leaving her a permanent fence-sitter, aware of both sides of the argument.