Although she wasn’t born in Scotland, Margaret Paterson has plenty of Scottish blood in her veins. Her grandfather hailed from Stonehaven and her grandmother, who emigrated from the island of Islay, was a highland dancing teacher. Margaret’s mother, Mrs Elsie Innes Barker, who passed away in December 2011 in her 92nd year was an Honorary Adjudicator with the Australian Board of Highland Dancing Inc., she carried on the tradition and was a well respected personality in Australian Highland Dancing circles. Margaret, who trained in highland, ballet, jazz, tap, Irish and ballroom dancing, was taught highland dancing initially by her mother and later trained with Mrs Pearl Neilson (deceased) and finally with Miss Jan Roach. In 1962 & 1963 Margaret won the first registered Open Queensland Highland Dancing Championships and in the same years won the Open Queensland Irish Dancing championships.
The Thistle Highland dancing Studio was established by Margaret and her mother and sister Karen Barker in Brisbane -1968 and since then Margaret has trained dancers for examinations, competitions and performance work. She has been a guest teacher at workshops and seminars throughout Australia and in New Zealand and in addition to her very thorough work in SOBHD technique she is a highly skilled and very well respected choreographer. Mrs Paterson is an examiner and a Fellow Member with the National Dancing Association of Australia.
As a member of the ABHDI Judges Panel and World Wide Judges Panel SOBHD, Margaret has judged competitions and championships throughout Australia and overseas. Margaret has made several visits to Scotland to enrich her knowledge of correct SOBHD technique and she has produced numerous champion dancers who have competed throughout Australia and in New Zealand, Scotland, America and Canada achieving excellent results.
Margaret held the position of President of the Australian Board from 1995 until 1997 and then again for five years from 2000 until 2005. In 2006 Margaret was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in the general division for service to Highland Dancing as a teacher and adjudicator and she also holds a Celtic Honour, Duine Urramach (Noble Person), in recognition of service to the dancing community and the State of Queensland. In 2008 she was delighted to be accepted as an Honorary Member of the SOBHD.