Maggie Kirkpatrick

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Maggie Kirkpatrick
Maggie Kirkpatrick.jpg
Kirkpatrick at the opening of Driving Miss Daisy at Theatre Royal, Sydney, 2013
Margaret Ann Downs

(1941-01-29) 29 January 1941 (age 79)
Years active1960–present (theatre)
1971–2008, 2017-present (film & television)
Notable work
Norman Kirkpatrick
(m. 1963; div. 1979)
[citation needed]

Margaret Anne Kirkpatrick (née Downs; born 29 January 1941) is an Australian actress who is best known for her portrayal of the character Joan Ferguson, a sinister and cold lesbian prison officer, nicknamed "The Freak", in the popular Australian television soap opera Prisoner. More recently, she performed as Madame Morrible in an Australian production of the musical Wicked. Kirkpatrick has appeared in such popular series as Water Rats, Home and Away and All Saints.

Early years[edit]

Margaret Anne Downs was born in Albury, New South Wales, to James and Crissie Downs. When she was seven months old her father was killed while on active national service as a soldier in North Africa, leaving her mother to bring her up alone. Her mother later married John Anderson and had a son, Adrian. The family moved to Newcastle, New South Wales, where Kirkpatrick grew up. She had had an interest in acting from an early age, and appeared in several school plays. By November 1955 she became fed up with school and left, whereupon her mother sent her to drama lessons.

Career: Theatre and television[edit]

In 1960, at the age of 19, Kirkpatrick took her first professional acting job, with theatre impresario John Alden's Shakespeare Company. After this initial production she promptly gave up acting. Kirkpatrick subsequently took various jobs, working in dress shop, as a medical receptionist, compère of fashion parades, and also had jobs in bars, restaurants, and hotels.

Downs married Norman Kirkpatrick, a merchant seaman of the Shankill Road in Belfast, in September 1963.[citation needed] Five years later they moved to Sydney where Kirkpatrick decided to resume her acting career. After appearing in two plays she put her acting career on hold once again, this time due to the arrival of her daughter Caitlin. Kirkpatrick resumed theatre work as Caitlin got older from 1964 onwards[1],and from 1976 onwards moved on to television and cinema.

Video Appearance[edit]

Kirkpatrick appeared in the music video for "Anthem for the Year 2000" by rock band Silverchair.


She is a strong supporter of gay rights, having made numerous appearances at "Fair Day" as part of the annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival. She has been awarded the Sydney Gay Community's DIVA award for her work.

Return to TV[edit]

Kirkpatrick returned to TV in 2017 after a 9 year hiatus, having in recent years appearing primarily in theatre role's[1], appearing in Australian TV mini-series The Letdown.

Personal life[edit]

In July 2015, Kirkpatrick was charged with child sexual assault against a 13-year-old girl in the 1980s. She strongly denied the allegations and said she would fight to clear her name of the two counts of indecent assault and one count of gross indecency with a person under the age of 16. In a statement Kirkpatrick said, "Yes, allegations have been levelled at me. Are they true? Absolutely not."[2][3] She appeared in court in August 2015 and was found guilty on 20 August.[4] She was subsequently sentenced to an 18-month community corrections order, including 100 hours of community service.[5] Kirkpatrick successfully appealed the case and won, with Judge Geoffrey Chettle finding that there was reasonable doubt surrounding the circumstances, and dismissing the conviction and charges.[6]



Title Year Role Notes
Summer of Secrets
The FJ Holden
Betty Armstead
The Night, the Prowler
Madge Hopkirk
The Getting of Wisdom Sarah
The Pirate Movie
Aunt Helen Alternative title: "Voyage Into Terror"
Billy's Holiday
Maureen O'Hara
Lilian's Story
Uncredited role
Welcome to Woop Woop


Title Year Role Notes
The Godfathers
TV series
The Thursday Creek Mob TV series
Snake Gully with Dad and Dave
TV series
Who Do You Think You Are?
TV series
Father, Dear Father in Australia
Mrs. Floyd Season 1, episode 12 "The Wisdom of Patrick"
Chopper Squad Mrs. Roland Season 2, episode 3 "A Deed Without a Name"
The Oracle
TV series
Spring & Fall Season 2, episode 4 "Thanks Brother"
Joan Ferguson Leading role; seasons 4–8; 389 episodes
Alternative title: "Prisoner: Cell Block H"
Richmond Hill
Ivy Hackett TV series
Dearest Enemy
TV series
The Ham Funeral
Mrs. Fauburgus TV film
Betty's Bunch Betty Leading role; Season 1; 13 episodes
The Miraculous Mellops
Mrs. Kafka Season 1, episode 5
Season 1, episode 12
Home and Away Jean Chambers 7 episodes of season 4
Hey Dad..!
Sister Maureen Season 8, episode 1 "Nun the Wiser"
The Ferals
Aunt Mavis Season 1, episode 8 "Rock Horror"
Joan Mullins Season 7, episode 13 "Relative Strangers"
Water Rats
Sadie Seymor Season 4, episode 20 "Red Light"
Joan Ferguson Season 1, episode 9 "Gambling Pizza"
Blue Heelers Marj Cummings Season 7, episode 21 "The Gumshoe"
All Saints
Dawn Healy Season 4, episode 18 "Bed of Roses"
Home and Away
Viv "The Guv" Standish Recurring role; 11 episodes; season 16 / season 17
All Saints
Maria Season 11, episode 7 "Little Decisions"
The Letdown
Lois Season 1, episode 6 "Mother Nature"
Sando 2018 Catherine Prodigal Mum
The Bureau of Magical Things 2018 Doris (voice) 4 episodes


  1. ^ a b "Maggie Kirkpatrick".
  2. ^ "Australian actress faces child sex charges". BBC. 27 July 2015. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  3. ^ Prisoner star Maggie Kirkpatrick on child sex charge The Australian Retrieved 27 July 2015
  4. ^ "Maggie Kirkpatrick, Prisoner star, found guilty of child sex offences". ABC News. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  5. ^ "Prisoner star Maggie Kirkpatrick avoids jail over teen sex abuse". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  6. ^ "Prisoner star Maggie Kirkpatrick cleared of indecently assaulting young fan". ABC News. 8 December 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2015.

External links[edit]