; Vale Margaret Cockman - tribute to a City stalwart - City of Wanneroo

Vale Margaret Cockman - tribute to a City stalwart

Published Thursday, 27th July 2023

The City of Wanneroo extends its deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Margaret Cockman OAM, who has sadly passed away.

Portrait of Margaret Cockman

Margaret’s immeasurable influence on the City and passion for helping the community was unmatched.

A proud descendant of one of the City’s founding families and a lifelong Wanneroo resident, Margaret’s heart of service saw her dedicate more than five decades to working in local government.

Her passion and determination was the driving force behind the success, and the creation, of many associations and community organisations in the City, including several groups that continue to operate today.

Margaret’s long list of accomplishments included being awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for her community work in 1990, and again in 2001 when she was awarded the Centenary Medal. In 1995, she was made a Freeman of the City of Wanneroo for her work in service of the community since 1946.

Margaret’s determination and generosity was the cornerstone on which the strong community sprit within the City was built.

Even before the City’s official inception in 1999, Margaret was shaping our community as an important figure in local government and then as an active member of the community.  

Margaret, the City is eternally grateful for your service. Your enduring legacy will continue to shape the City of Wanneroo for years to come.

Honouring Margaret

To honour Margaret, the flags outside the Wanneroo Civic Centre and Clarkson Library will be flown at half-mast today (Thursday 27 July).

Those who wish to personally pay tribute to Margaret can write a message of condolence. All messages will be shared with Margaret’s family.

Handwritten messages of sympathy can also be taken to the Wanneroo Regional Museum during operating hours.

A portrait of Margaret will be displayed in the Great Court of the Wanneroo Library and Cultural Centre on Rocca Way in Wanneroo, for anyone who wishes to leave flowers or small mementos to honour our friend and a true stalwart of our City.

The life and achievements of Margaret Cockman

In recognition of Margaret’s incredible contributions and achievements, we are proud to share highlights of her career and life. 

1930s Margaret Jane Cockman is born. The great granddaughter of James and Mary Ann Cockman, who settled in Wanneroo in the 1850s, she decided at an early age to continue their work by becoming heavily involved in the development of the local community. The family home of her ancestors, Cockman House, is now open to the public as a museum for all to enjoy.

1940s Margaret starts work at the Wanneroo Road Board, becoming an important figure at the organisation over the next 50 years as it transitioned first to the Shire of Wanneroo and then the City of Wanneroo. Margaret spent 17 of those years working in the Joondalup Administration Centre, helping fast-track the development of the Joondalup City Centre after the Shire of Wanneroo moved there in 1979.

1960s The Wanneroo Shire Council and State Lotteries Commission help fund an ambulance service. Ambulance calls are taken in the Wanneroo Shire office and it is Margaret’s job to phone around to find someone trained in first aid to go out with the ambulance driver.

Margaret helps form the Wanneroo Country Women’s Association branch. The State Country Women’s Association resolves to build CWA House in Perth. A Country Woman of the Year Quest is held to help raise funds for the building and Margaret enters as the Wanneroo representative. She goes on to win the CWA Cash Queen title for raising the most money in WA.

Margaret continues to be involved with St John, becoming the Wanneroo branch secretary.

1970s Margaret becomes a St John sergeant.

Margaret helps her good friends Bill and Bernice Marwick with editorial and introductions when they start the Wanneroo Community News, which goes on to become the Wanneroo Times. Margaret contributed community news items and various community meeting dates over many years.

Margaret captains the Wanneroo First Aid Team that wins the Australian National Nursing Competition in Melbourne. Around this time, Margaret is also a member of the Wanneroo Civil Defence and Emergency Services.

Margaret co-authors and researches a book called History of Wanneroo, released in 1979.

1980s The Shire of Wanneroo builds a pavilion at the Wanneroo Showground and names it the Margaret Cockman Pavilion, in honour of her longstanding service to the community.

Margaret captains the West Australian Nursing Team that comes second in the Southeast Asia Nursing Competition.

Margaret is part of the WA mixed team that takes part in the International Nursing Competition in New Zealand. Margaret helps train hundreds of people in first aid over the years.

Margaret helps form the Wanneroo Historical and Districts Society. She serves as secretary from 1989 to 2022.

1990s Margaret is appointed an Officer Sister of St John and becomes responsible for the administration and account books of the division.

Margaret is awarded her first Medal of the Order of Australia for community work.

Margaret becomes a Freeman of the City of Wanneroo, an honour bestowed upon individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the local community and Australia through their personal endeavours and commitment.

Margaret retires after a five-decades long career in local government, during which she witnessed every major development and project undertaken throughout Wanneroo and Joondalup’s early years. Equally impressive as her career was Margaret’s incredible volume of voluntary work, which greatly shaped the Wanneroo and Joondalup communities we know today. Margaret is credited with supporting and creating community groups including the Wanneroo Country Women’s Association, Wanneroo Agricultural Society, Wanneroo and Districts Historical Society, the Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade, Mullaloo Surf Life Saving Club, Wanneroo Red Cross Doorknock Appeal, Yanchep Golf Club and the Wanneroo St John Ambulance Service. 

As a former Commander with the St John Ambulance Service, Margaret dedicated many years and countless hours to the organisation. Past and present civic leaders agree that most of Wanneroo’s important community organisations would not be running today if not for the Margaret’s indefatigable spirit and unmatched enthusiasm over the years.

2000s Margaret is recognised again for her community work with a Centenary Medal.

Lions Clubs International names Margaret an Exemplary Citizen for community service.

Margaret is celebrated for serving on the Agricultural Society’s Wanneroo Show Committee for 60 years.

The City of Joondalup names Margaret a Freeman for her service to the community.

Margaret continued to be involved in her community into her 90s. Her passion, dedication and commitment to making her community better will remain an inspiration to all who knew her.


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