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Margaret Isabel (Marg) Pewtress (1932–1995)

Margaret Pewtress lived long enough to see her beloved Australian netball team regain the world championship crown and her daughter married, all in the one weekend.

When she died in Melbourne last Sunday at 62, after a battle with cancer, a little bit of the spark and vitality that she had encouraged in women's sport administration went with her.

Pewtress had been president of the All Australian Netball Association since 1988 and had overseen the tremendous development of the sport in that time. 

Friend and former Australian captain Anne Sargeant described Pewtress as her role model and hero in life because of her administration, leadership and people skills. 

"At the world championships, the health of Mrs Pewtress was uppermost in everyone's minds," Sargeant said. 

"It (the Australian win) was really for her, everyone just respected and admired her so much and netball will be rocked by her absence." 

As an influential board member for 11 years of the Australian Sports Commission, the Federal Government body which oversees all sport in Australia, Pewtress instilled an empathy for netball and women's sports at the highest administrative and political levels. 

In 1986, she chaired the formation of the Women's Sport Promotion Unit, forerunner of the Women in Sport unit, which had the specific goal of encouraging equity in sports. For that effort, she was awarded the Order of Australia in 1989. 

She was a former president of the Victorian Netball Association, where she successfully brought together three disparate organisations into the one grouping. 

A skilful netballer who represented Victoria, Pewtress was also a top coach. She guided club and State teams and was coach of the national side at the 1967 world titles. 

Pewtress is survived by her husband, Bill, and her children. Her funeral will be held in Melbourne on Thursday.

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'Pewtress, Margaret Isabel (Marg) (1932–1995)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 17 April 2024.

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