Judy Small, is a judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia who was previously an Australian entertainer, folk singer, songwriter, and guitarist. Known for her feminist, often patriotic, and political songs, usually following a traditional theme, she produced twelve albums, hundreds of songs and has been described as being among the most popular political singers in Australia, with many such songs, based on topical factual events like the Montreal Massacre, and she enjoys to sing about real people and issues, stating "If an audience comes away thinking about issues it is a worthwhile performance". She toured the country and internationally, playing primarily in clubs and pubs, and at various conventions. .
Judy Small was born in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales. She moved to Sydney in 1972, studying psychology and began her career as a singer and songwriter in the late 1970s, inspired by the folk boom of the 1960s and describing her influences as such folk singers as Peter, Paul and Mary, Joan Baez and The Seekers. She now lives in Melbourne. Her songs have been recorded by Ronnie Gilbert, Eric Bogle, The McCalmans, The Corries, Charlie King and Priscilla Herdman among others. Several have been translated into a number of languages. One of her successful ballads is "The White Bay Paper Seller", based on newspaper seller and Sydney icon Beatrice Bush. Apart from her own repertoire she is a great interpreter of song both traditional and contemporary.
After a successful performance at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival in 1982 she became a full-time singer-songwriter. Over the next the 16 years, she regularly toured in the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Australia and New Zealand. In 1990, she received the "Mo" Award - Mo Awards for Australian Folk Performer of the Year and in 1997 was the Port Fairy Folk Festival Artist of the Year. She was also invited to Beijing for the United Nations Women's Conference NGO Forum - UN in 1995, where she sang to thousands of women from all over the world. People had been asking for some years for Judy Small, to release an album recorded live, so they can hear her introductions and stories of her songs, which have become much a part of the show, as her actual concert performance, so a concert was recorded called "Live at the Artery" in her home town of Melbourne and subsequently was released as a double CD Collection set, spanning her 35-plus years of hits.
Judy Small retired from full-time performance in 1998. She became a family lawyer in Melbourne working for Victoria Legal Aid, but continued to write new songs and to perform regularly. In March 2013, she was appointed to a position with the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia, and retired fully from performing.
Judy Small's songs cover a wide range of topics and styles, especially social justice, equity and harmony with a particular emphasis on feminism and peace. Among the most popular are "Mothers, Daughters, Wives", "Women of Our Time", "One Voice in the Crowd" and "Global Village".
In 1990, she was awarded the Mo Award for Australian Folk Performer of the Year. In 1997 she was the Port Fairy Folk Festival Artist of the Year. In 1995, she was invited to Beijing for the United Nations Women's Conference NGO Forum. In 2006, Australian Rhymes Magazine named her club/pub entertainer/performer of the year, in which she released a double CD, tie-in collection of her greatest hits, titled "Live at the Artery".