Faces of the community

Margaret Cockman celebrates the Wanneroo Times big 40 birthday.
Margaret Cockman celebrates the Wanneroo Times big 40 birthday.

‘It was their participation in community activities that made articles for printing,’ said the stalwart, who was in several groups featured in the first edition.

‘They were able to get their message out, particularly to isolated people.

‘It also reduced the number of inquiries we were getting at the council because it was there in black and white about who to contact.

‘Wanneroo was a very rural area, very scattered.

‘Community groups and sporting clubs were what life was about in Wanneroo.’

Margaret’s early involvement included Wanneroo St John Ambulance Brigade, Wanneroo Country Women’s Association, Wanneroo Agricultural Society, Wanneroo Civil Defence and Emergency Services and Yanchep Golf Club.

Some came about because she provided administrative support through her council employment; she joined Wanneroo Road Board in 1946 and retired from the City of Wanneroo (formerly Wanneroo Shire Council) in 1996.

‘When a new group formed, even after 1974, they didn’t have the facilities,’ she said.

‘They might have money for postage and paper but no access to a typewriter or duplicator so, in a lot of instances, I inherited this role until the group got established.’

Community-minded Margaret (83) did not mind.

‘I loved the people,’ she said.

‘They cared for one another, looked after one another.

‘Even back in those days, it was a very multi-cultural group, particularly Europeans ” I went to school with the Italians, Slavs and Greeks.

‘You’d go down to the shop to buy a pound of butter and come back at 1 or 2 in the afternoon because it was a small community and you knew everybody.’

Margaret was with Wanneroo St John Ambulance from 1968 to 2003, serving in such roles as Wanneroo superintendent, secretary-treasurer and first aid instructor.

‘I loved the first aid competitions and represented WA nationally and also in Singapore and New Zealand,’ she said.

Margaret has been with the agricultural society since 1946, serving in various roles, most recently as co-ordinator of the Margaret Cockman pavilion.

A Freeman of the cities of Wanneroo and Joondalup, she has volunteered her time to many other groups over the years, including Wanneroo and Districts Historical Society, where she has been inaugural secretary since 1989.

Her outstanding community commitment was rewarded with the Medal of the Order of Australia several years ago.