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History of MAGA

by Les Dempsey

MAGA is an acronym of the Music Arrangers' Guild of Australia Incorporated. The aim of the Guild is to represent musical arrangers/orchestrators and copyists on a national platform and advance and protect the professional status and interests of its members.

MAGA was deemed to have been duly constituted in Melbourne, Victoria on 10 of February 1961. Divisions of the Guild were created in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia at that time. A division was established in Western Australia in 1972. All divisions maintained a strong relationship with their respective state branches of the Musicians' Union of Australia (MUA). It is not surprising that all of the divisions adopted much of the MUA's industrial policies and rules, although they were not a union as such.

There were no notable changes recorded to the operations of the divisions for almost three decades since constitution until, in the early 1990s, the NSW division of MAGA resolved to reassess its rules, definitions and regulations and to open its membership to those arrangers/orchestrators and copyists whose work was computer assisted. MAGA's view is that it is not so much whether an arranger/orchestrator or copyist chooses to work with pen and paper or a computer and printer, but whether the same degree of musicianship has been applied to the task.

MAGA became incorporated under the Associate Incorporation Act (1984 Reg. 1985, Clause 10) with the NSW Department of Consumer Affairs on and from 12 December 1994. On 19 December, 1996, MAGA (NSW Div.) Incorporated changed its name to the Music Arrangers' Guild of Australia (MAGA Incorporated) and became registered as a Registrable Australian Body (RAB) under the Corporation Laws Subsection 360(1) of the Australian Securities Commission. By 1996, the South Australian, Victorian and Western Australian branches had disbanded and merged with the NSW division, which led to the formation of the national body of the Guild. The first Annual General Meeting of the structure took place in Sydney on 13 December 1997.