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Communities, Sport and Recreation

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Leila (Margaret) Osborne OAM

Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women logo
Margaret Osborne

Awarded for service to the Community, service to Sport and Recreation

Born: 1942

Entered on roll: 2007


Margaret Osborne was born on Flinders Island in 1942 where she lived until illness forced her into hospital in Launceston. Margaret contracted polio at the age of 10 and spent 12 months recovering. She has been confined to a wheelchair for the past five years, however, her trademark “get on with it” approach has seen her break through her own barriers and contribute remarkably to the East Coast community.

Currently Break O’Day Council’s Deputy Mayor, Margaret is known to be a kind and giving woman who has been described as a role model for women on the East Coast.

Margaret’s work as a liaison officer with St Helens District High School for more than 17 years has given her an intimate knowledge of the families in the community. For this work she received a State Award for Educational Excellence in 2004.

However, Margaret’s main contribution has been her involvement in the Little Athletics Centre in St Helens. Margaret was living on the East Coast with her husband and five children in 1981 when a group of parents were involved in determining the interest in Little Athletics. At a public meeting, a committee was formed with Margaret as the inaugural Secretary of the new centre. Margaret has had a 35-year involvement with Little Athletics, including 25 years in St Helens.

Margaret then became involved with the sports complex steering committee and began working on sourcing government funding so the community could build a sporting facility where children and adults could train and compete.

Since the early days of the St Helens Sporting Complex, Margaret has been involved with the St Helens Athletics Carnival including as Secretary for the past six years. The carnival was voted National Athletics Carnival of the Year in 2005-06. Former St Helens Little Athletics member Tao Baker was State Athlete of the Year for 2005-06. Ten former St Helens Little Athletic members have competed in state teams since Margaret first started the organisation including Tamie Roney, who Margaret coached to the first Tasmanian race-walking medal at the Australian championships.

Apart from being foundation Secretary for the St Helens Little Athletics Centre, Margaret has also been Secretary, Vice President and President of St Helens Netball Association, a Tasmanian Netball Association board member, the Patron of the East Coast Vietnam Veterans Association for the past five years, and is the current St Helens Hospital Auxiliary Chairwoman. She is an augural joint Secretary of the committee for the Cancer Council’s East Coast Relay for Life, which in 2007 raised more than $53,000.

In recognition of her services to the community, Margaret has been awarded the Australian Centenary Medal (2001), Portland Council Citizen of the Year Award (1994), Break O’Day Council Citizen of the Year Award (1998), Australia Sports Medal (1998) and the Tasmanian Little Athletic Association State Service Award (2002).

Margaret was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2005 for service to the community of St Helens through a range of sporting, recreational and school organisations, and to local government.

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