• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: IMP0075

Davey, Margaret Lurline

(1915 – 2010) Margaret Davey
  • Born 6 November, 1915, Laura South Australia Australia
  • Died 8 March, 2010, Adelaide South Australia Australia
  • Occupation Biology Teacher, Community worker, Women's rights activist, Women's rights organiser


Margaret Lurline Davey’s long standing service and commitment to community work and especially to women’s organisations, was first recognised in 1963 when she was appointed as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). Almost twenty years later in 1981 her efforts were again recognised when she was appointed as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).


Margaret Davey was born not long after the outbreak of World War I, a fourth generation South Australian with ancestral and cultural links to England and Ireland. She was educated at Girton School, the University of Adelaide and the Adelaide Conservatorium of Music.

Margaret always immersed herself in community work and in particular became very involved with the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). Her fund-raising activities eventually led to her becoming president of the YWCA in Adelaide. Margaret was involved in the establishment of the YWCA in New Guinea and also investigated the possibility of setting up YWCA hostels in America and Canada. It was through her work with the YWCA that Margaret first became involved with the National Council of Women of Australia (NCWA).

In the early 1990s Margaret worked to establish a fund that would assist women to participate in the activities of the NCWA, and the International Council of Women (ICW), which operates in ninety-five countries around the world. ‘The Margaret Davey Fund’ was set up with an original donation of $5000 from Margaret and continues to be augmented by the donations of others. It assists members in attending major conferences, seminars and international symposiums thus lifting the profile of NCWA as an organisation representative of mainstream Australian women. Margaret was President of NCWA from 1976-1979 and was involved in setting up its headquarters in Canberra.

During her life Margaret has given generously of her time to women’s organisations like YWCA and NCWA, as well as the Methodist Church, the Good Neighbour Council and the Julia Farr Centre. Her service to women’s organisations and community work was recognised in 1963 when she was appointed as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), awarded the Queens Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977, and appointed as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1981.



  • 1960 - 1970

    Women’s United Churches Association

  • 1961 - 1966

    Methodist Women of South Australia


Published resources

  • Book
    • Greater than their knowing: a glimpse of South Australian women 1836-1986, National Council of Women of South Australia, 1986
    • Notable Australians: the Pictorial Who's Who, Hamlyn, Paul, 1978
  • Catalogue
    • Public Moments, Private Lives: Costume from the Davey Family, 1991
  • Site Exhibition
  • Edited Book
    • Who's Who of Australian Women, Lofthouse, Andrea, 1982
  • Resource

Archival resources

  • Australian Dictionary of Biography
    • Margaret Davey
  • National Library of Australia, Oral History and Folklore Collection
    • Margaret Davey interviewed by Amy McGrath [sound recording]
  • National Archives of Australia, National Office, Canberra
    • Miss Margaret Davey - Honour
  • National Library of Australia, Manuscript Collection
    • Records of the National Council of Women of Australia, 1924-1990 [manuscript]
    • NCWA Papers 1984 - 2006

Digital resources

Related entries

  • Presided
    • National Council of Women of Australia (1931 - )
    • National Council of Women of South Australia (1902 - )
    • Young Women's Christian Association of Adelaide