Maleny Tennis

Margaret Taylor

Player Profile #2:  Margaret Taylor by Phil Crowe

Not many people receive a civic reception when they arrive in Australia.   Visiting royalty sometimes do.   Our very own Margaret Taylor and her late husband Derek did when they arrived in Tamworth from England in 1986.  Derek was the new Director of the then Tamworth Music Centre – soon to evolve into the Tamworth Regional Conservatorium of Music – and Margaret as Head of Vocal Tuition.  We are fortunate that Margaret is now a member of the Maleny community as the moving force behind the Maleny Singers and as a much valued member of the Maleny Tennis Club.

Margaret has been interested in tennis from her earliest days.  She played tennis while attending ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­County Girls’ Grammar School in Maidenhead, Berkshire.  Although she didn’t quite make it into the tennis team, she did give the school champion a run for her money one day going down 6-3.  Other life-long interests from her early days are horse riding and, of course, music.

After leaving school, Margaret studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where, in her final year, when she was awarded the Ricordi Prize for the most outstanding opera student.  She then went on to a stellar career with the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company, the English National Opera company, and The London Concert Artists group.  As well as performing in the British Isles and Europe, Margaret also toured extensively in the U.S and Canada.

In 1977 she and Derek attended The Championships at Wimbledon, a milestone year for that famous tournament for a number of reasons.  It was the tournament’s 100th anniversary and Derek, as Director of Music of H.M. Welsh Guards Band, was there in his official capacity to participate in the ceremonials.  The Queen attended on that important occasion, apparently the only time she has attended The Championships.  Adding to the excitement for the local crowd was the success of a British player, Virginia Wade, in winning the Ladies’ Singles crown.

Their time in Tamworth turned out to be 17 busy years.  The number of students at the Conservatorium approached a thousand, and Margaret directed thirty five productions of operas and operettas during that time.  She also joined the Tamworth Dressage Club and began her serious amateur career as a dressage rider.  She trained many horse, but with the final two she achieved her ambition of riding at the FEI (Fédération Equestre International) level for the last two years of her dressage career.

From the moment of her arrival in Australia, Margaret has felt at home.  It was her sister living in Sydney who saw the advertisement in the Sydney Morning Herald and brought to their attention the two positions in Tamworth – Taylor made for them she says!  Perhaps there was some intergenerational destiny at work.  Margaret discovered that the property on which they lived near Tamworth was settled by a John Eales, an ancestor from Gateshead in England on her father’s side.

Margaret and Derek retired to the Sunshine Coast Hinterland in 2003.  Sadly Derek passed away in 2008, and Margaret has taken over the baton of the orchestra as well as directing the Maleny Singers.  In the sporting department, she says she now enjoys tennis and plays golf!