By Claire Ottaviano
THE Ellenbrook and wider Swan community are this week mourning the passing of community champion Margaret Kidson.
Mrs Kidson died on Wednesday, July 14, four days after her 82nd birthday.
She was born into humble beginnings in 1939 in the small town of Wiluna and as a young girl would help her mum cleaning offices before going to school.
She married Clive Harrison (dec) and together the pair had three children.
Clive’s passing in November 1966 left the young mum widowed and caring for three young children, the youngest just four-months old.
She worked as a teacher in Bassendean during the day and as a barmaid at the Stirling Arms at night where she met second husband Gerald Henry Kidson (dec).
Margaret and Gerald were married at St Matthews Church on October 14, 1968, the day of the Meckering earthquake and together the couple had three children.
As well as protesting the Vietnam and Gulf Wars, she did a lot of important work in Aboriginal education, dedicating 10 years to Culunga Aboriginal Community School in West Swan.
“She came from a humbled upbringing and she never forgot that,” daughter Eliza Outred said.
“She always fought for the underdog and was very accepting of everyone.”
Perhaps her most well-known achievement, Margaret was the first and only female Shire of Swan president, elected in 1993.
During her 14 years as a councillor, Mrs Kidson advocated for the protection of the Swan Valley, recorded and preserved the history of Guildford and defended the rights of low-income earners.
Her determination to break the glass ceiling has encouraged and empowered local women to seek elected office.
She later founded VCR 88.5FM Ellenbrook Radio, was instrumental in the progress of the Ellenbrook Returned and Services League and was also heavily involved with the Garrick Theatre in Guildford.
In April this year she was awarded an Honorary Freeman of the City.
City of Swan Mayor Kevin Bailey paid tribute to her this week.
“On behalf of the City of Swan Council, we are deeply saddened to hear about the passing of former Shire of Swan president, councillor and Honorary Freeman Mrs Margaret Kidson and offer our heartfelt condolences to her family and loved ones,” he said.
“Mrs Kidson’s exceptional contribution to the community over many decades, her avid advocacy work that has led to better outcomes for the community and her connection to history will forever hold a special place at the City of Swan.”
In Margaret’s memory and in recognition of Margaret’s love for and service to her community, a motion to name the new Recreation Centre in Ellenbrook the Margaret Kidson Ellenbrook Leisure Centre is expected to come before Swan Council this month.
She will be dearly missed by her six children, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.