Margaret Stevenson

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Margaret Stevenson. Image courtesy Orange City Library.

Margaret Ossola was born in Wilcannia on the Darling River in 1938. Her parents were café owners Albert and Christine. Margaret attended Wilcannia Public School, Maroubra Girls High School and Methodist Ladies College in Adelaide. Margaret moved with her sister and parents to Orange in 1957.

In 1958, Margaret married Nicolas Stevenson, with whom she had four children: Elizabeth born in 1959, David in 1961, John in 1963 and Joanne in 1969. During a long career in business Margaret owned the Popular Café in Summer Street and was secretary of the Woollen Mills. She established a career in real estate, operating her own agency, Margaret Stevenson Real Estate, and later taught real estate at Parkes and Orange TAFE colleges.

On 18 September 1971 Margaret Stevenson, along with Leone Healy, became the first women to be elected to Orange Council. Cr Stevenson served for eight terms spanning 35 years. She served a term as Deputy Mayor from September 1984 to September 1985 and was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in 1991 for services to local government.

Cr Stevenson had a passion to serve the Orange community and to empower and inspire women. She was a committed fundraiser for the Red Shield Appeal, Mid-West Heart Fund and the Fairy Sparkle Garden at Orange Base Hospital.

Cr Stevenson died on 11 December 2006. At the time of her death she was chairperson of the Planning, Building and Health Policy Committee, the Planning Approvals Committee and the Orange Health Liaison Committee. She was also a member of the Orange Access Advisory Committee, Sister Cities Advisory Committee, Radiotherapy Alliance and the Aboriginal Employment Strategy Working Party.

Cr Stevenson will be long remembered for her dedication to diversity and the Orange community. Margaret Stevenson Park, in Spring Street, is named in her honour.

  • 'Four decades and counting' Central Western Daily 17 July 2005, p.1
  • 'Takeover sparked career' Central Western Daily 26 October 1996
  • 'A tireless worker for the community' Central Western Daily 30 November 1996, pp. 22-23
  • 'Vale Margaret Stevenson OAM' Central Western Daily 13 December 2006, p. 1
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