Margaret (Maggie) McManamny (nee Sherlock)
Maggie made her first concert appearance at the age of six. Ten years later, at just 16, she won the soprano solo section at the very first South Street Competitions, a success she repeated over the next three years of competition. In 1894, she won the Australian Natives’ Association gold medal for Victoria. During a musical career of more than 70 years, Maggie’s notable achievements included being a long-time member and principal soprano of Ballarat Liedertafel, a leading lady in many grand and comic opera productions, organist and principal soloist at St Alipius’ Church for 10 years and a teacher of vocal music, voice production and piano for more than 25 years.
Maggie couched two Sun Aria winners and took several students to semi-finals. She was in high demand throughout the Western District and sang (under her stage name Madame Maggie Sherlock) in virtually every hall in Ballarat. Many people referred to her as “Ballarat’s answer to Dame Nellie Melba”.
To have achieved so much in professional life, while at the same time raising three young children after being widowed in 1910, was truly remarkable.
In the words of her grandson, “On the 300 or more occasions where she sang ‘Home, Sweet Home’, there was rarely a dry eye in the house. I have the privilege of having in my possession the only known recording of her singing that very song”.
King words put together by Margaret’s Grandson, Mr Peter Pollard.
Maggie’s three children, Kathleen, Thomas and Ursula (my Mother carried on the fine musical tradition of their Mother.)
Margaret McManany is buried at the Ballarat New Cemetery in Lawn D Row 15 Grave 06