Margaret Cameron


Dear ones,

It is with passionate sadness that I must tell you of Margaret Cameron's gentle passing on Monday 20 October at 9pm.

Some of you may already be aware that the cancer she beat last year returned in August and was very aggressive. Over the past three months she has been cared for variously by her artist family and her biological family - in the last month particularly by her son Yani, in whose arms she died.

Margaret CameronMargaret has always had the amazing capacity to frame any experience poetically and philosophically and she recorded one of her last poems - 49 stanzas long - on Saturday. She was intelligent, poetic, and humorous until the end, which came with unexpected yet fortunate swiftness.

There will be a memorial service on Monday October 27 at 2pm. The family has told me that details will be posted on Margaret's website: Jill Greenhalgh, Julie Robson and I will be in attendance.

I am so very sorry to bear this sad news. I know you will each remember and honour her life and her art in your own beautiful way.



To dear Dawn and our Magdalena Australia sisters
We will be thinking of you all today as you farewell your magnificent friend and colleague and celebrate her life and work. There are only a handful of us from Magdalena Aotearoa who had the opportunity to see Margaret's performances and experience her teaching. Since that first wonderful encounter at your Magdalena Australia Festival we have only been able to see a fraction of the works she created. But what we did see shook our hearts and expanded our notion of what theatre can be. The words from one of her own poems resonated when I read them the other day on her website
I had to leave the theatre
part way through the performance
I am so ...envious
We have long harboured a desire to see more of her work and to learn from her. We wanted so much to bring her to New Zealand once her PHD studies were complete and her battle with ill health was won. We mourn that lost opportunity but we are so grateful to all the Magdalena Projects in recent years that allowed us to see what we did of her work.
With both tremendous gratitude for her inspiration and profound sadness in her passing we stand by you as you farewell your beloved friend and colleague today.
with our love
Madeline McNamara
On behalf of Magdalena Aotearoa

Margaret's memorial service

Monday was Margaret, M, Maggie’s memorial service. There were over 200 people there – family – M – had 7 siblings – all older than her – and her mother –not there –who celebrated her 100th birthday this June – has 50 great grandchildren. Many people also drove the 2 hours from Melbourne to be there – her artist family. The venue – a famous winery - overlooked a beautiful ocean bay. There were songs, prayers – the family of mainly sisters are all catholic religious – and contributions in all shapes and lengths from the two distinct families. We saw excerpts from Opera for a Small Mammal (brilliant) and of course photos from throughout her life. I had the honour of being part of a trio who read – at the very beginning of the service – Margaret’s latest and extraordinarily strong poem LAY ME OUT. She requested it be read – it is long – 49 stanzas. The 49 days of Bardo (Buddhism) between death and the manifestation of new form. A Buddhist monk will pray for her throughout these 49 days.

When I arrived I was welcomed so warmly by her friends and family here in her gorgeous bright orange house, close to the sea. I have walked each day to the jetty and back viewing pelicans and parrots and cormorants. Across the bay you can see the Melbourne Skyline pretending to be Gotham city. There were many tributes – many tears – . It seems that everyone who knew Margaret felt they were her best friend. She made people feel that way with warmth, love, encouragement, provocation, wit. And I wondered who she could confide in, who really knew – HER. David Young – her closest collaborator – was not present. He lives in Berlin at the moment. He skyped her everyday at 4.30 for months – perhaps he in his absence was in fact her closest and most treasured friend. I don’t know.

The family are allowing me to be in her house for some days alone. This is a blessing – it is a beautiful house full of things, paintings, poems, placed perfectly.

It will give me time to decide what I should now do with my time here in Australia.

I am quiet and deeply sad. She was a consummate artist.