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Maggie Tabberer
, 2015

by Alana Landsberry

type C photograph (sheet: 130.0 cm x 90.0 cm, image: 128.5 cm x 88.5 cm, frame: depth 4.5 cm)

Maggie Tabberer AO (b. 1936) is one of Australia’s best-known women. She began her career as a model. Having married at seventeen and given birth to two daughters, she was ‘discovered’ by the photographer Helmut Newton in Melbourne when she was 23 and by 1960 she was Australia’s Model of the Year. She moved to Sydney, but became tired of the twin demands of modelling (including maintaining her weight) and family. In 1963 she began writing a fashion column for the Daily Mirror that she continued for sixteen years. In 1964 she became a television panellist on Beauty and the Beast, and by the end of the decade had her own daily chat show, Maggie. In 1967, she married again; gave birth to a son, whom she lost to cot death at ten days old; and started a public relations company, Maggie Tabberer and Associates, which she maintained for twenty years. She won Gold Logies in both 1970 and 1971. In 1981 she became fashion editor of the Australian Women’s Weekly, remaining at the magazine until 1996. Also in 1981, she launched her own clothing label, Maggie T, which closed stand-alone stores in 2018 but continued in modified form within Millers. From 1990 to 1995 she presented a lifestyle series on ABC television with her third life partner Richard Zachariah. From 2005 she hosted Maggie . . . At Home With on the pay television channel Bio, its eight series including interviews with Dawn Fraser, Ian Thorpe, David Campbell and Geoff Harvey. Her biography, Maggie, appeared in 1999 and has since been updated.

Alana Landsberry’s father was a professional photographer. When Alana was a baby, he took her to a shoot he did with Maggie Tabberer, and Maggie held the baby while he set up his equipment. Decades later, when Alana went to the Southern Highlands to photograph Maggie Tabberer for the Australian Women’s Weekly, she took her own baby son, and Maggie held him, too.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Alana Landsberry and Bauer Media Australia 2019
Accession number: 2019.25