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Awarded for service to the Arts
Entered on roll: 2006
Gentle, humorous, disciplined in all she undertook and constantly encouraging to those around her, Margaret was passionately committed to literature, indefatigable and generous to a fault. (Faie Watson, 2006)
Born in Hobart, Margaret Giordano (nee Murray) was a modest woman who was a high achiever throughout her life. After graduating from the University of Tasmania, she worked as a librarian before winning a scholarship in 1953 to study French civilisation at the Sorbonne in Paris.
While in Paris, she taught English in a French school and then went on to become a French translator at the Indian Embassy in Paris. She met her future husband while on a holiday in Florence and moved with him to Sardinia after their marriage. Following her husband’s transfer to Rome, Margaret became an Italian and French translator at the Australian Embassy. She also took on the role of interpreter for Arthur Calwell, then Leader of the Federal Opposition, when he was in Italy in 1963.
After 12 years abroad, Margaret returned to Hobart with her husband and three young children in 1965. Having always aspired to be a writer, she applied herself increasingly to her writing, producing book reviews, giving talks, conducting seminars and writing plays and short stories which were broadcast on radio. One of her plays, Mathinna, won the University of Tasmania Bean Essay Prize and was subsequently adapted as a ballet.
She produced many newspaper articles, including a six-part series on Hobart murders for the Saturday Evening Mercury. Margaret’s major contributions to Tasmanian literature were five published books: Tasmanian Literary Landmarks (with Don Norman), Countries of the Mind (with John Reynolds), A Man and a Mountain (the story of Gustav Weindorfer and Cradle Mountain), Watcher of the Skies (about Launceston astronomer Alfred Barret Biggs) and Tasmanian Tales of the Supernatural.
In 1973, Margaret became involved with the Tasmanian Chapter of the Fellowship of Australian Writers and retired as its President in 1996.