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Awarded for community service
Born: 15 December 1936 - New Norfolk, Tasmania
Entered on roll: 2017
“Making communities more age friendly”
When Margaret Bird retired from a distinguished 38 year teaching career, it was said her “energies were not limited by the fence of her school”. As a teacher, school principal, mother and homemaker, Margaret always dedicated significant time to the community.
Margaret joined Zonta International in 1986 and held many positions including Area Director, Vice-Area Director and Volunteer Chairman and Coordinator of 300 volunteers at the Melbourne International Convention in 2006. Margaret was Coordinator of the Breast Cushion Project for 15 years with over 1,000 cushions made and distributed, the Birthing Kit Coordinator, and Chairman of Cheryl’s Angels Project (a support program for Rokeby High School students with issues relating to others at school, home and in the community).
Since ‘retirement’, Margaret has been actively involved in making communities more age friendly. Margaret was the Chair of the Tasmanian Council on the Ageing (COTA) Board for six years and chaired the Policy Councils for COTA Tasmania, and COTA Australia for three years.
Margaret was COTA’s representative on the national RedUse Project, which promoted awareness of the significant risks and limited benefits associated with the use of antipsychotic and benzodiazepine medication for older frail people, and encouraged the use of non-drug strategies to manage behavioural issues and psychological symptoms.
Since 2012, Margaret has represented COTA on the Telstra Low Income Measures Assessment Committee to ensure programs for vulnerable customers meet community needs.
Margaret has also played an important role making communities more age friendly at the local level by serving on the Clarence City Council’s Positive Ageing Committee since its inception in 2007. Clarence became the first Tasmanian Council recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) Age Friendly Cities and Community Network in 2014.
Margaret was president, secretary and newsletter editor of both the Probus Club of Lauderdale and Wellbeing Club 13, which promote physical activity and mental wellbeing, recreational, social and cultural activities for older people.