Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Ann Margaret (Peg) Magoffin (1918–1971)

by Ann Eyland

This article was published:

Ann Margaret (Peg) Magoffin (1918-1971), chartered accountant, was born on 14 May 1918 at Echuca, Victoria, eldest of four children of Victorian-born parents Richard Magoffin, grazier of Ardbrin, North Queensland, and his second wife Josephine Lillian, née Williams. Peg had three half-brothers and a half-sister. Her mother died when she was 12. Richard's family were pioneers in the Winton district of Queensland and Ardbrin's isolation led to Peg's schooling being irregular. Her education from the age of 9 at the Convent of the Sacred Heart, Rose Bay, Sydney, was interrupted by the Depression and by illness.

Leaving school, Peg returned to Ardbrin where her father persuaded her to develop costings for the property's wool output. She pursued her interest in financial management on her return to Sydney in the 1940s and worked for Thom & Smith Pty Ltd, radio manufacturers, as a cost-clerk. After holding similar jobs elsewhere, she was employed by the accounting firm of D. P. Dickson & Son, Bridge Street. She completed accountancy training at night and was admitted to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia on 9 November 1951.

Dickson's had many country clients for whom Peg Magoffin's interest and experience in the wool industry proved useful. In time, she was responsible for many of the firm's pastoral accounts, which she purchased when she left in 1956 to establish her own public accountancy firm, A. M. Magoffin & Co. Well known for her expertise in taxation—largely through her monthly column (1953-71) in Rydge's business journal—she wrote a textbook on the subject, and lectured for the Australian Mutual Provident Society and for the faculty of law at the University of Sydney. She also studied economics as an evening student at that university (B.Ec., 1967).

Miss Magoffin chaired (1951-70) the finance committee of the Australian Association of Business and Professional Women's Clubs. During her term as the association's president (1966-70), she oversaw a major restructuring of the organization which led to the creation of State divisions. She worked tirelessly for the B.P.W., spending many weekends attending meetings in Victoria and in country towns in New South Wales. In 1969 she prepared and presented the B.P.W.'s submission when the association was granted leave to intervene in the Equal Pay cases before the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration. Next year she was appointed to the National Labour Advisory Council's committee on women's employment.

Her role as financial adviser to the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a French Order, was due to the impact of the Second Vatican Council on the Catholic Church. Even in Australia the Society had kept all its records in French. Under Magoffin's guidance a double-entry accounting system was introduced, individual convents became accountable for their own affairs, and records began to be kept in English. In 1967 she joined the council of Sancta Sophia College, University of Sydney. In spite of suffering from ischaemic heart disease, Magoffin still maintained her hectic pace. She died of myocardial infarction on 7 August 1971 in the home at Arcadia that she owned with Mary Julia Susan Patterson.

Select Bibliography

  • P. R. Thoms (compiler), The First 25 Years, B.P.W. Australia (Melb, 1972)
  • Chartered Accountant in Australia, Sept 1971, p 52
  • Rydge's, 44, no 9, Sept 1971
  • Provincial Archives of the Society of the Sacred Heart, Convent of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Rose Bay, Sydney
  • private information.

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

Ann Eyland, 'Magoffin, Ann Margaret (Peg) (1918–1971)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2000, accessed online 24 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, (Melbourne University Press), 2000

View the front pages for Volume 15

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


14 May, 1918
Echuca, Victoria, Australia


7 August, 1971 (aged 53)
Arcadia, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.