As Margaret Jackson, Caldow represented Tasmania in athletics (sprints) and netball (Australian Schoolgirls team). After moving to Melbourne at the completion of her schooling years in 1957, she also represented Victoria in athletics, but in 1960 decided to concentrate on netball. The fact that the MVP Championship Trophy for Netball Victoria is named in her honour clearly displays that this was a fortuitous decision.
Though small in stature, Margaret Caldow remains classed as one of Australia’s finest netball players, and has established a formidable reputation as a coach in the sport.
Caldow represented Australia from 1962 to 1965, 1972 to 1975, and in 1978 to 1979 – captaining the team for eight years. She competed in three winning World Championship teams -in England in 1963, New Zealand in 1975 and Trinidad and Tabago in 1979. On the latter two occasions, she was captain of the side. In New Zealand in 1975, at the conclusion of the World Championships, she was named captain of the ‘World Team’.
Caldow represented Victoria for 11 years, in 1961 and 1962, 1964 and 1965, from 1971 to 1975, and in 1978 and 1979, captaining the team for eight years. A goal attack, she played for and captained the top club team, ‘Melbourne Blue’. She retired at the end of the 1965 season to start a family but made a welcome comeback in 1971. Her knowledge and expertise was then put to further use, as she turned to coaching some of Australia’s elite junior and senior players.
Caldow became a national selector in 1981 and gained her level 3 National Coaching Accreditation in 1994. She coached for three years at the Australian Institute of Sport, and in 1987 was named assistant coach of the Australian team. In 1991, she moved to the Victorian Institute of Sport, where she spent five years as head coach. In 2003, after a short stint as coach of the Melbourne Kestrels, she was appointed National Performance Director for Netball England.
In acknowledgement of her contribution to the sport of netball, Caldow was recognised by being awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) at the end of 1977.