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Doris Irene Magee (Lee) MBE AM

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Awarded Life Membership 15 September 1984

 

Birth: 21 February 1907

Death: 4 July 2002, Sydney NSW (95 years)

Doris Magee was a significant administrator in the development of women’s athletics in Australia.

She was born on 21 February 1907 in Maroubra, a suburb in Sydney. When she left school to become a bookkeeper.

Her athletics career in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s was as a sprinter in 100 and 220 yards.

Her involvement with NSW Women’s Amateur Athletics Union from 1932 to 1982 included the Honorary Secretary 1932 to 1959 and President from 1959 to 1982.

In early 1932, the Australian Women’s Amateur Athletics Union (AWAAU) was formed, and she held the position of Executive Officer. In 1937, she became the Honorary Secretary, a position that she held from to 1940 and 1942 to 1978.

Whilst holding these leadership positions in NSW and Australian women’s athletics she strongly advocated for equal rights for women in Australian and international athletics.  In the 1970’s, she was heavily involved in the amalgamation of the men’s and women’s national athletics associations.

When Sydney hosted the British Empire Games in 1938, she was appointed the inaugural Manageress of the first ever Australian women’s athletics team. She was the Chaperon for the Australian team at the London 1948 and Rome 1960 Olympics.

In 1952, Doris was appointed to the IAAF 12-member Women’s Committee, which she remained a member for more than 25 years and was awarded an IAAF Veterans Pin in 1972.

Her involvement at the Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games included a Member of the Organising Committee and Assistant Manager for the Australian team.  In 1968, she became the first female delegate to the Australian Olympic Federation.

Between 1951 to 1953, she wrote weekly newspaper column promoting women’s sport for the Sun Herald.

Doris was awarded in 1956 the Member of the Order of British Empire (MBE) for service to women’s amateur athletics and in 1980 was awarded Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for service to the sport of athletics.

Her life memberships included NSW Women’s Amateur Athletic Association (1949) and the Australian Women’s Amateur Athletic Union (1962). Her final significant award was Australian Sports Medal in 2000 for ‘Outstanding service as an official’.

Her life-time contribution to athletics was recognised by Athletics NSW with the Doris Magee Trophy and Athletics Australia’s Doris Magee Shield for the winner of the junior women’s point score at the National Championships.

After athletics, Magee played lawn bowls and held the position of President of the Maroubra Bowling Club.

Doris Magee (second from right) serving as chaperone at the Rome 1948 Olympics, with Shirley Strickland (left) unpacking a suitcase, while June Maston (centre) and Betty McKinnon (right) watch on. (Australian Sports Museum)