Partner Margaret Magill

Queer Places:
25 Mahoe St, Muritai, Lower Hutt 5013

Margaret “Rem” Magill (1888-1962) and her partner Mimie Wood (1890-1973) lived at 25 Mahoe Street, Eastbourne, from 1920 until Margaret’s death in 1962 at the age of seventy-four. Margaret, principal of Thorndon Normal School, became the first woman president of the New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) in 1934, serving in this capacity until her retirement. Mimie was secretary, accountant and librarian of the Royal Society of New Zealand for 42 years, until her retirement in 1962. Both women were involved in many social and political activities. Margaret served on the Eastbourne Borough Council for nearly 30 years, some as the Deputy Mayor, and Mimie founded the Eastbourne Lyric Singers in 1937, serving as Secretary/Treasurer for twenty-five years. In 1948 they became foundation members of the East Harbour Women’s Club, of which Margaret was President for thirteen years and, like others in this study, were long-term members of the Pioneer Women’s Club. Margaret, who was “strongly anti-armament and anti-nationalism”, attended international teaching conferences, as well as conferences for the Red Cross for which she was on the executive committee. These connections make it likely that Margaret and Mimie knew Elsie Andrew’s circle. Both Margaret and Mimie received MBE awards for their community and professional work, Margaret in 1957 and Mimie in 1963. Both women were described as hospitable, holding “hilarious dinner parties...with a circle of Eastbourne friends”. An interesting connection is provided by Margaret’s close friends Lotte Renner and Fosey Earp; there is a postcard to Lotte from Ida Baker, apparently a close friend of Fosey Earp, who lived in England from 1926.

Daisy Isaacs and her companion Amy Grace Kane lived in Mahoe Street across the road from Margaret and Mimie. Others in the friendship circle living in Mahoe Street or nearby included teachers Rhoda Messenger and Dora Johnson. All of the women were members of either the Pioneer Club or the Lyceum Club.

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