Dr Margaret McLorinan

Dr Margaret McLorinan was one of the first female members of the Royal Australian College of Surgeons.

Honour Roll

She was a gifted administrator and organiser as well as an able and brilliant surgeon and used both of those talents in the service of women's health at the Queen Victoria Hospital. Born in South Melbourne in 1887, Margaret McLorinan matriculated from Mentone High School at the age of 14. In 1919 she graduated from Melbourne University as a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery. Initially appointed Medical Officer at the Kyneton Hospital, Margaret returned to Melbourne in 1913 and practiced for a short time in Clayton. In 1914 she became clinical assistant outpatient staff at the Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital.

The outbreak of the First World War meant that women doctors took over the practices of serving doctors and Dr McLorinan filled an honourary position at the Melbourne hospital where she developed an antenatal clinic that returned outstanding results. After the war her priority was the setting up of an obstetrics department at the Queen Victoria Hospital. This was achieved in 1920.

'Dr Peggy' as she was known to her patients, became President of the medical staff at the Queen Victoria Hospital. She and her committee supervised in detail the construction and equipping of a new maternity block, the Rachel Foster wing that opened in 1929.

During this time, Melbourne auxiliaries formed to support the hospital and Dr McLorinan encouraged this development by her enthusiasm and her interest in their work. In 1931 she saw the laying of the foundation stone for what was to be the Jessie McPherson Community Hospital, but returning unwell from a trip to Colombo, she resigned as president of the medical staff and as senior obstetrician although she retained her position as consulting obstetrician. She became ill again and died in 1932 at the age of 46.

Dr McLorinan was a woman of exceptional professional ability known for her kindness to her patients as well as her outstanding ability as a surgeon and her inspirational work as an administrator.