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Awarded for service to the Arts, service to Education and Training
Entered on roll: 2007
Anne McGarry was born in the Huon in 1894. She received her early piano tuition from the Sisters in the convent at Franklin. She was a well-known identity in the Huon, entertaining people by playing for silent films and dances.
After finishing her studies in Franklin, Anne taught there for about seven years before moving to Hobart to open a music practice. There were stories in the Franklin area of students who used to row across the river from Cradoc just to have lessons with Anne.
Anne went on to study through the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music and she studied for her Licentiate of Music through the Royal College of Music in London.
Anne was the first Tasmanian pianoforte tutor to be appointed at the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music.
For many years, Anne was one of the best-known piano teachers in Hobart and she significantly contributed to the Tasmanian community through her music teaching career. Anne had a profound influence on three generations of students. Many of those students have gone on to become successful music teachers, in turn contributing to the community themselves.
By the 1960s, Anne’s reputation as a teacher had grown to the extent that one had to be a reasonably gifted musician to be considered as a potential student. Anne taught an impressive list of students and many successfully gained the highest distinction of AMEB qualifications.
However, the bond between Anne and her students went beyond teacher-pupil. Anne was much loved, as well as admired. It is therefore not surprising that some pupils brought their children, and their grandchildren, to be taught by Anne.
Anne was very much part of the musical society and contributed time to the Tasmanian Music Teachers Association and the local eisteddfod, at which they have established the Anne McGarry Award for pianists.
Illness forced Anne to retire from teaching in 1974 but that was not before she had 60 years’ of teaching experience. Hobart’s Lord Mayor gave her a civic reception at the time of her retirement.
Anne was honoured in 1975 with an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for her years of dedication in the field of music. Such was her humour that she referred to the OAM as “Old Anne McGarry”.
Even after her official retirement, Anne still loved music, playing the piano at Mary’s Grange in Taroona and she quipped: “I play the piano every night after tea. They call me ‘bed and breakfast’ because I’m never in my room”.
Photograph courtesy of the Mercury.