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Wise Women: Margaret Whitley

Emma Macdonald

“It was only after I broke free from their influence that I truly began to live.”

In the lead-up to International Women’s Day, HerCanberra celebrates 10 outstanding local women who revealing their own wisdom based on the very different paths they have taken in life.

Okay, so she’s not local, but she has pretty strong connections. Margaret Whitley, mother of HerCanberra founder Amanda Whitley, has found fulfilment later in life.


On being her own woman

“From the time I was born, my life was defined by the strong men who surrounded me. It was only after I broke free from their influence that I truly began to live. At the age of 69 I love to travel, have a wide circle of friends and have just started over, moving with my youngest daughter and her family to the coastal town of Forster. It’s never too late to follow your dreams.”

I am happiest…

“When I am with my daughters and my grandchildren. I am also happy when I am immersed in a good book or solving a puzzle.”

When life presents challenges

“I summon inner strength and try and project confidence – even if I am shaking in my boots. I don’t like conflict and take things to heart.

“I find that when I am upset it helps me to write things down. When problems are expressed on paper, they don’t feel so bad. When it all falls apart, having a sense of humour never goes astray.”

Photography: Martin Ollman

This article originally appeared as part of our Wise Women article in Magazine for Autumn 2017, at stockists now. Find out more about Magazine here


Emma Macdonald

Emma Macdonald has been writing about Canberra and its people for more than 20 years, winning numerous awards for her journalism - including a Walkley or two - along the way. Canberra born and bred, she’s fiercely loyal to the city, tribally inner-north, and relieved the rest of the country is finally recognising Canberra’s cool and creative credentials. More about the Author