LOOKING back at her list of achievements, Margaret Harvison said she “accidentally” dedicated her life to music.

Her passion for singing, song and sharing this talent with others has been recognised with the Medal of the Order of Australia in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Miss Harvison’s overall contribution to the performing arts in the Mackay region began when she was just eight years old.

More stories:

One decision by a stranger saved this boy’s life

Mackay writer published after unbelievable trip to Africa

BATTLE OF THE MINES: David and Goliath tussle over coal land

From singing solo and teaching highland dance to conducting school choirs and leading the Girl Guides, the Mackay resident said she was humbled to have her contribution recognised.

“I’ve been busy,” she said.

As an intrepid young woman, eight-year-old Margaret joined the Junior Mackay Choral Society.


Margaret practices with her students, for their recital at the Conservatorium in 2010. L- R Rohan Dalton, Reece Madam, Ellie Madam, Lochlan Paton and Margaret Harvison. PICTURE: Lee Constable

Seventy-two years later, her lasting impact on Choral Society, of which she has been a life member since 2005 and served as vice president between 2006 and 2018, continues.

She was a founding member of the Mackay Musical Comedy Players and performed in its first production of The Boyfriend, which began in 1965. In 1982 she became a life member for the group.

Miss Harvison’s other life achievements include being a founding member of the North Queensland Regional Committee of Highland Dancing, adjudicating for the Australian Board of Highland Dancing and receiving the Cultural Award at the Mackay Regional Council Australia Day Awards in 2011.

As well dedicating years to the choir, Miss Harvison worked to train the next generation of talented local performers.

Subscriber benefits:

How to make the most of your digital subscription

Daily puzzles and Sudoku another reason to stay subscribed

She taught private vocal lessons between 1995 and 2013.

It is this contribution which she said she was most proud.

“Something I have learnt is that we all need to pass on what we have learnt,” she said.

“I have been very fortunate to have had people to assist me and that is how you grow.

“It needs to be passed on what you have gained … particularly at the moment, the arts needs as much recognition as it can get.”


Margaret’s service to the performing arts includes:

Mackay Choral Society

•Vice-president, 2006-2018.

•Life Member, 2005.

•Numerous Administrative positions, since 1983.

•Member, since 1983.


•Organiser, North Queensland Easter Eisteddfod (when held in Mackay), since 1989.

•Mackay Choral Society Delegate, North Queensland Eisteddfod Association.


•Principal, Margaret Harvison School of Dancing, 1964-1979.

•Founding Member, North Queensland Regional Committee of Highland Dancing.

•Former Adjudicator, Australian Board of Highland Dancing.

Performing Arts

•Founding Member, Mackay Musical Comedy Players, since 1965 and Life Member, 1982.

•Conductor, Emmanuel Catholic Primary School Choir, 2003-2008.

•Private Vocal Teacher, 1995-2013.


•Member/Church Choir Member, St. Paul’s Uniting Church, Mackay.

•Former Member/Leader, Mackay Girl Guides.

Awards and recognition includes:

•Recipient, Cultural Award, Mackay Regional Council Australia Day Awards, 2011.

•Recipient, Certificate of Recognition, Australian National Association of Teachers of Singing.