- Honour Roll
In 1988, Margaret Oates was honoured by the Bicentennial Authority as one of 200 'Unsung Heroes and Heroines', in 1989 she was Citizen of the Year, City of Collingwood and in 1997 Citizen of the Year, City of Yarra. In 1998, she featured in the Oh! Mrs Oates ABC documentary, 1988 and The Angel of Collingwood Channel 7 documentary.
She was an unassuming but indefatigable community leader - helping to establish and guide community services and contributing to policy development on the prevention of social problems of her time. Her roles include being a voluntary community worker for the Society of St Vincent De Paul and a Founding Mother and unpaid Chairperson of Share Care.
She was Co-founder of the Yarra Drug and Health Forum and a community activist on many local issues such as the redevelopment of the Good Shepherd Convent site and supporter of the Collingwood Children's Farm. Margaret made a significant contribution to the establishment of Share Care - a community managed foster care program, recognised by the Department of Human Services in 2001 as best practice in respite care.
She was also involved in the Margaret Oates Soup Kitchen. Margaret has been described as occasional foster mother, everybody's grandmother and an earthly angel. She was motivated by spiritual values and deep Christian faith, but she never evangelised nor discriminated.
She was a staunch supporter of women's rights and a model for women's achievements. Her clarity came from an uncomplicated conviction that we are all responsible for our community's children. She showed us how to support struggling parents, and when they failed from time to time, she showed us how community networks were the essential backstop in providing children with identity and a sense of belonging. In a post-modern world, she affirmed unfashionable values of charity and unprofessionalised caring, and her lessons continue to enrich our lives.
Reviewed 25 May 2022