Margaret Jane Cockman OAM CSTJ was born in 1931 and has lived in the Wanneroo area her whole life. Margaret’s family were among the first settlers in Wanneroo in 1852 and she decided at an early age to continue their work by becoming heavily involved in the development of the local community.
Their old family home, now known as Cockman House, is open to the public as a period museum. Margaret started work at the Wanneroo Road Board in 1946 and over the next 50 years she became an important figure as the Board became the Shire of Wanneroo and then the City of Wanneroo. She 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.
She retired in 1996 after being involved in local government for five decades, witnessing every major development and project undertaken throughout Wanneroo and Joondalup’s early years. However, it is her incredible volume of voluntary work that has greatly shaped the Wanneroo and Joondalup communities we know today. Margaret either founded or assisted the running of 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. She captained the Wanneroo First Aid Team that won the national nursing competition in 1976.
Margaret is a Commander with the St John Ambulance Service, having dedicated many years and countless hours to the organisation. Past and present civic leaders unanimously agree that most of Wanneroo’s important community organisations would not be running today had it not been for the incredible enthusiasm and devotion of Margaret over the years. She also co-authored and researched a book called History of Wanneroo, which was released in 1979.
When the Shire of Wanneroo built a pavilion at the Wanneroo Showground in 1980, they named it the Margaret Cockman Pavilion in honour of her longstanding service to the community. In 1990, she was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for community work and received the Centenary Medal in 2001 for the same cause. In 2002, the Lions Clubs International named Margaret an exemplary Citizen for Community Service to the people of Wanneroo. She was made Freeman of the City of Wanneroo in 1995. In 2006, she reached another milestone by serving on the Agricultural Society’s Wanneroo Show committee for 60 years. Margaret has dedicated herself to improving the quality of life for the people of the northern suburbs. Becoming one of three inaugural Freeman of the City of Joondalup is a fitting honour for such a community stalwart.