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Margaret Edgeworth McIntyre (1886–1948)

by R. A. Ferrall

This article was published:

This is a shared entry with William Keverall McIntyre

William Keverall McIntyre (1881-1969), gynaecologist, and Margaret Edgeworth McIntyre (1886-1948), community worker and politician, were husband and wife. Keverall was born on 13 January 1881 in Hobart, son of John McIntyre, barrister, and his wife Adeline Janetta, née Langdon. Educated at The Hutchins School, he served (1900-01) in the South African War as a member of the 2nd (Tasmanian Bushmen) Contingent. In 1904-07 he read engineering at the University of Sydney (B.Eng., 1921); he then worked as an assayer in Tasmania, at Mount Bischoff and Zeehan. At St John's Anglican Church, Ashfield, Sydney, on 28 September 1909 he married Margaret Edgeworth David; they were to have four children.

Margaret was born on 28 November 1886 at West Maitland, New South Wales, eldest daughter of (Sir) Tannatt William Edgeworth David, a geological surveyor from Wales, and his English-born wife Caroline Martha, née Mallett. She was educated privately and at the University of Sydney (B.A., 1907). Having experienced at first hand the dangers and difficulties of confinements in remote mining centres, her husband determined to study obstetrics and took his family to Scotland where he enrolled at the University of Edinburgh (M.B., Ch.B., 1915; M.D., 1919).

During World War I McIntyre joined the Royal Army Medical Corps and rose to major. For his service in Macedonia, he was awarded the Military Cross (1917) and appointed to the Greek Order of the Redeemer (1918). After being discharged from the army, he became a resident medical officer at the Edinburgh Royal Maternity and Simpson Memorial Hospital. Back in Tasmania, he entered general practice at Launceston.

His wife involved herself in communal and welfare activities. A member of the National Council of Women of Tasmania, New Education Fellowship, Young Women's Christian Association and Launceston Youth Movement, she was also a commissioner (1940-48) of the Girl Guides' Association. In the late 1940s she helped to establish the G. V. Brooks Community School; its curriculum, initiated by the Launceston Progressive Educational Association, aimed at providing pupils with a range of practical skills, responsibility in running the school, and education for constructive leisure.

Mrs McIntyre was appointed O.B.E. in 1948. That year, standing as an Independent, she won the division of Cornwall in the Legislative Council: she was the first woman to be elected to the Tasmanian parliament. Conscious that women should take a greater interest in government, she believed that every effort should be made to prepare all young people for citizenship. On 2 September 1948, less than four months after her parliamentary career began, she was killed when the Australian National Airways Dakota in which she was travelling crashed into a mountain near Quirindi, New South Wales. She was buried in Tamworth cemetery. Margaret McIntyre House, Launceston, was opened by the Girl Guides' Association in 1950.

Her husband had made obstetrics his speciality. At the Queen Victoria Hospital, Launceston, he was honorary obstetrician for thirty-seven years and an honorary lecturer (1925-57). McIntyre drew on his engineering training to build a negative pressure respirator at a time when infant resuscitation was in an early stage of development. During World War II he worked tirelessly in his private practice and devoted long hours to hospital administration. Towards the end of his career he estimated that he had performed about 8000 deliveries, averaging 600 a year in 1940-45. He was a member (1939) and fellow (1945) of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, London, a member of the British Medical Association and president (1934 and 1955) of its Tasmanian branch. In 1950 he was appointed C.M.G. Devoted to music, both light and classical, he belonged to the Launceston Players' Society, of which his wife had been a founding member.

Survived by his two sons and two daughters, McIntyre died on 16 February 1969 at Launceston and was cremated. A nurses' home at the Queen Victoria Hospital was named (1950) after him, as was an oration, established in 1955 by the State committee of the R.C.O.G.

Select Bibliography

  • V. Veale, Women to Remember (priv pub, St Helens, Tas, 1981)
  • Medical Journal of Australia, 21 June 1969
  • Mercury (Hobart), 4, 6 Sept 1948
  • Examiner (Launceston, 17 Feb 1969
  • Sunday Tasmanian, 25 Feb 1996
  • M. Campbell-Smith, Mrs Margaret Edgeworth McIntyre OBE BA 1886-1948 and A. Godfrey-Smith, Margaret Edgeworth McIntyre 1886-1948 (transcripts, copies held on ADB file)
  • private information.

Citation details

R. A. Ferrall, 'McIntyre, Margaret Edgeworth (1886–1948)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2000, accessed online 15 July 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, (Melbourne University Press), 2000

View the front pages for Volume 15

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • David, Margaret Edgeworth

28 November, 1886
Maitland, New South Wales, Australia


2 September, 1948 (aged 61)
Quirindi, New South Wales, Australia

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