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Byron Shire
May 18, 2021

Vale tennis champ Margaret Fisher

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Margaret Fisher playing in Croatia. Photo supplied

Stephanie Dale

Margaret Fisher, Byron Bay’s legendary world champion tennis player, has died.

Margaret passed away in Brisbane on 22 December, aged 89.

Well-loved right around the Bay, Margaret was a friend to everyone she met.

She was a woman who paid no heed to a person’s place in society. Whether you were under a tree in the park, busking on the footpath, sitting quietly at her favourite coffee shop or behind the myriad counters where she shopped, Margaret had time for everyone.

Last year Margaret was crowned Byron Shire’s Senior Citizen of the Year. She would have hated that word ‘crowned’.

Turned down Queen Elizabeth II

In 1953 she was summoned to Australia House to explain why she had turned down an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II, who had invited her to attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace.

A country kid from Albury she had saved for three years to sail to England to play her way into Wimbledon. She was not giving up her tennis for anyone – not even the Queen.

Margaret was widely regarded as an inspiration to others.

She was renowned for being fitter in her 80s than she was in her 60s.

Ten years ago she dusted off her racket and began playing tennis again for the first time in more than 20 years. The following year she became the Australian over 80s tennis champion and then set her sights on international gold.

She competed in seven world championships during the following years, in 2016 becoming the World Super Seniors over 80s silver medallist and in 2017 she became the world over 85s women’s doubles and mixed doubles tennis champion (with partners Rosemarie Asche, from Canada, and Max Byrne).

Margaret was a veteran teacher who pioneered maths centres and English as a second language in Canberra schools. In her 50s she launched a second career in politics, working for various Labor MPs and senators, in both government and opposition.

Margaret was deeply grateful for the support she received from the Byron Bay community for her tennis, via various crowdfunding campaigns and through sponsorship from Feros Care.

Margaret is survived by her loyal companion, border collie Leo, also an icon around Byron Bay, as well as daughters Stephanie, Elizabeth and Virginia, her son Andrew, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Everyone is welcome to attend Margaret’s funeral, which will be held at 2pm on Saturday in Marvell Hall, 37 Marvel St, Byron Bay. No flowers please, donations instead to Karuna Hospice Services, 07 3632 8300.

Stephanie Dale is Margaret’s daughter.

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  1. Your mum was a wonderful woman Steph. I’ll always remember her at the farmers market with a terrible glint in her eye. Give her a good sendoff.

  2. Margaret was indeed a lovely person and to use a contemporary cliche a role model for all of us of a younger generation who may consider giving up on the affirmation of life.I knew her from the beach, forever positive, supremely fit for her age and an engaging conversationalist. She would comment on today’s issues as well as numerous stories of a bygone era. My favourite was when she sneaked on to Centre Court at Wimbledon in 1953 at the midnight hour and helped herself to a tuft of grass! On the beach she was always accompanied by Leo, her dog and it amused me how she’d get embarrassed when he’d get “frisky” with other dogs.And as for the Buckingham Palace garden parties, well even Prince Harry said they are boring. Margaret made the right choice and enjoyed a non gender specific lifestyle long before it became the accepted norm. A real trailblazer who will be sorely missed. I hope to pay may respects on Saturday.


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