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Margaret Calder (1927 – )

While still at school in Ballarat, Margaret Calder had thought about becoming a social worker, and to this end in the 1940s had sought information about the career from the Almoner at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. However her school results ruled out enrollment at the university, and she undertook professional training as a kindergarten teacher. On her return to Australia after teaching for a number of years in the United Kingdom, Margaret took a position working with Elery Hamilton-Smith at the Victorian Association of Youth Clubs. Realising she needed further training, Margaret completed her Matriculation Certificate by correspondence while still working with VAYC, and in 1968 began studying for her social work qualifications at The University of Melbourne, completing her combined Arts and Social Work education in 1972 under the Commonwealth Rehabilitation and Training scheme.

The combination of her kindergarten teacher training and experience and her social work education supported her on-going commitment to child development and children’s welfare, and brought her to her first social work position as social worker to the Kilmany Park Boys’ Home in Sale. Working from Melbourne and travelling to Sale every second week, Margaret tried unsuccessfully to change some of the practices she observed at Kilmany which she believed did not adequately prepare the boys for life after they left the institution. After three years with Kilmany she moved to become the Children’s Services Officer for South Melbourne Council, a position which she held for five or six years. She then took a locum position with Knox City Council before moving permanently to the Victorian Department of Human Services, where she became first the Duty Worker in the Adoptions Section, and then the Duty Worker for the whole Department, dealing with whatever problems were presented by walk-in clients. Margaret stayed in this position until she retired in December 1992. At the time of the interview in September 1996 Margaret stated that she was still able to “practise the art and craft of social work on a very limited basis” from her home in an aged care setting.

Transcript of Interview


Audio of Interview

Audio File Part One

Audio File Part Two


Contact the Victorian Branch

Victorian Branch Services Coordinator
(Monday to Friday)

Ph: 03 9320 1000 or 1800 630 124 (toll free alternative)

Level 7, 14-20 Blackwood Street
North Melbourne

PO Box 2008
Royal Melbourne Hospital
Parkville Vic 3050

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