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Awarded for service to Arts, service to Education and Training
Entered on roll: 2005
Margaret Scott was born in Bristol, in the United Kingdom, and was educated at Redland High School for Girls. In 1953, she went on to Newnham College at the University of Cambridge and gained a Bachelor of Arts. She later completed her Masters Degree at the University of Cambridge. She migrated to Tasmania in 1959 with her husband. She had four children, two sons and two daughters. She later enjoyed an extension to her family of three stepchildren, two girls and a boy.
Margaret joined the staff of the English Department at the University of Tasmania in 1966, where she was beloved of a generation of students. In 1978, Margaret completed a PhD at the University of Tasmania. She went on to become a senior lecturer and then head of the department in 1987. She retired in 1989 to pursue her writing career. Margaret received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Tasmania in 1999. After the death of her partner, she moved to the Tasman Peninsula.
Her work, both serious and humorous, reflects unique aspects of the Tasmanian landscape, culture and experience. Through the late 1990s, she made a number of appearances on ABC-TV’s Good News Week, endearing herself to Australian audiences with her witty repartee. In addition to her work as a writer and teacher, Margaret maintained a strong community involvement to ensure the conservation and promotion of Tasmania’s culture and heritage, particularly that of the Tasman Peninsula.
In 2000, Margaret was appointed to the board of the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority. She was a founder and board member of the Tasman Institute of Conservation and Convict Studies and a member of the Tasman Trust, a body formed to raise funds and initiate projects designed to improve the quality of life in the Tasman municipality following the 1996 Port Arthur tragedy.
Her literary service included: Fiction Editor for Voices; (National Library Quarterly) 1995; Visiting Assessor assisting the Literature Board of Australia; Council Member and Chairperson of the Literature Panel of the Tasmanian Arts Advisory Board; State Representative for the Association of the Study of Australian Literature; Chief Examiner for English Studies (Tasmania); Chairperson of the Board of Island magazine (1980-1995); Patron of the Society of Women Writers Australia; and a Fellow of Anglicare.
Margaret was awarded numerous prizes and grants throughout her distinguished career. She received one of her highest accolades in 2005 when she was presented with the Australia Council Writers Emeritus Award for her lifelong contribution to Australian literature.