Dr Margaret Farquharson was a pioneer in women’s health, as well as being a steadfast believer in women’s rights to tertiary education. She believed all women should have opportunities to be independent, and to have access to unrestricted career opportunities. Tragically her husband died quite young, leaving her with four children to raise, while at the same time maintaining a full-time role as a progressive medical practitioner in women’s health.
Born in Aberdeenshire in Scotland in 1925, Margaret was the second oldest of three girls and the second youngest of five children (including her two older brothers).
Margaret grew up on a farm called Darley at Fyvie, near Auchterless; still farmed by her family to this day. When she was growing up, her father would tell his children vivid stories about Australia and what a wonderful place it was, instilling in Margaret a love of travel and education that lasted all her life.
Her travels began when she was a student, winning a short trip to the Sorbonne University in Paris. She used to say with a smile it was because “she was the only one who hadn’t been anywhere.” Self-deprecating and good-humoured, she also joked that she only became a doctor because she “didn’t want to be a teacher.” Her younger sister, Kathleen, became a scientist.
Once in Paris, she caught Scarlet Fever. She spent two weeks in the University Hospital reading Charles Dickins. She noted how lucky she was to have received one of the earliest doses of the new medicine known as antibiotics.