Margaret Ann Jackson

Margaret Ann Jackson

Margaret Ann Jackson (née East) was born in Auckland in 1865 where her father, a soldier, was stationed during the New Zealand Wars. After returning to Britain for a time the family emigrated permanently to New Zealand, settling in Dunedin in 1876. Margaret was educated at the Dominican Convent and in 1888 married Adam Jackson, a commercial traveller. They did not have children and Margaret dedicated herself to social work in her community.

She devoted her time to many organisations including the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the Society for the Protection of Women and Children and the Society for the Promotion of the Health of Women and Children (later the Royal New Zealand Plunket Society). She was also an official prison visitor from 1908. During the First World War, Margaret helped collect funds for Belgian Relief under the banner of the Otago Patriotic and General Welfare Association. For her work in aid of Belgium she was awarded the Médaille de la Reine Elisabeth (Queen Elisabeth Medal).

Further information

Parents: Richard Roger East and Mary Ann East (née McMorragh)

Born: 1865

Died: 11 December 1925, aged 60 years

Buried: Southern Cemetery, Dunedin, Block 57R, Plot 11

Married: Adam Arthur Jackson, 1888

Active in: Dunedin

Obituary/death notice:


The death occurred yesterday morning of Mrs Margaret Ann Jackson, who was widely known as one of Dunedin’s most prominent social workers.

Mrs Jackson was the second daughter of Mr and Mrs Richard East, of Frederick street, Dunedin, and was born in Auckland during the Maori war. She went to Great Britain with her parents in early childhood, and returned when nine years of age, settling in Dunedin, where she resided for the rest of her life. For 53 years she was connected with the St. Vincent de Paul Society, of which she was president for 27 years. She was also official prison visitor for that institution. Mrs Jackson was a member of the committee of the Royal Society of New Zealand for the Health of Women and Children. About 15 years ago she was appointed a member of the Advisory Committee in connection with the management of the Hospital, and 12 years ago was one of the first women elected to the Otago Hospital and Charitable Aid Board, her seat on which she retained to her death.

'The deceased lady for many years had been an earnest and sincere social worker in the city, and brought to her self-imposed task of relieving those upon whom misfortune had fallen a rare energy that lost none of its zeal as the years passed. Indeed it might be said that her comparatively early death was not unconnected with the exhausting nature of much of her work, and the severe demands that it made upon her strength. It was no uncommon experience for her to leave her home early in the day and to return at a late hour, after a day of continuous visiting, to find a message from some troubled source requesting her guidance and assistance. The official positions occupied by her would reasonably have been considered sufficient to claim the attention of a private individual, but her unflagging energy and large sympathy were of a kind that could not be confined within specified limits, and her sympathy with the destitute and unfortunate found its expression in wider activities that were known only to few of her intimate friends. Her private means were generously devoted to the work she loved, but to what extent remains a secret – no friend possessed a confidence so close as to know the extent of her giving.

For the fallen of her sex she displayed a particularly kindly consideration, and that many have returned to respectability was due solely to the efforts of the deceased lady. In this class of rescue work she displayed a wonderful fearlessness, and fearlessly and courageously entered places of evil repute in search of some fallen one. The drunken husband or the wife-beater had no terror for her, and in some of these cases her help was called in preference to that of the police. Outside her social work the late Mrs Jackson could claim a large number of friends among all classes of the community in whose affections she occupied a high place by reason of her cheerful nature and kindly and humorous outlook on life. Despite her constant contact with the sordid and painful, she retained a natural geniality which made her a pleasant conversationalist. In the companionship of the young she took a special delight, and her home was the scene of many happy gatherings in which the kindly hostess was the leading spirit of the youthful revels. Hers was a life singularly rich in varied activities, self-denials, and work accomplished for love of her fellow-beings, and her death will leave a gap in the lives of many of the poor and lowly who had felt the shelter of her protective care.
Otago Daily Times, 12 December 1925, p. 10


DUNEDIN, this day. The death occurred yesterday of one of Dunedin's most prominent social workers, Mrs. Margaret Ann Jackson. For many years Mrs. Jackson has been a prominent member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. In addition, her philanthropic service was always at the disposal of every organisation whose object was that of doing good to the community at large. For the past two terms she has been a member of the Otago Hospital and Charitable Aid Board, and she was a frequent visitor to the hospital. Among the social workers of Dunedin of all denominations Mrs. Jackson was known by the significant title of "Mother." Deceased was born in Auckland during the Maori War, her father Richard East, being a member of the famous 40th Regiment.
Auckland Star, 14 December 1925, p. 15

Selected sources

'The War', Otago Daily Times, 1 December 1915, p. 3

'The Otago Patriotic Fund', Otago Daily Times, 10 January 1916, p. 3

'The Otago Patriotic Fund', Otago Daily Times, 9 August 1916, p. 5

'The Otago Patriotic Fund', Otago Daily Times, 28 August 1916, p. 5

'The War', Otago Daily Times, 18 September 1916, p. 3

'The Otago Patriotic Fund', Otago Daily Times, 6 November 1916, p. 3

'The Otago Patriotic Fund', Otago Daily Times, 5 December 1916, p. 6

'Deaths', Otago Daily Times, 2 November 1918, p. 6

'Obituary', Otago Daily Times, 12 December 1925, p. 10

'Obituary', Auckland Star, 14 December 1925, p. 15

‘Who’s who in New Zealand and the Western Pacific’, 1925, p. 115

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