Maggie Kirkpatrick

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Maggie Kirkpatrick
Maggie Kirkpatrick.jpg
Born Margaret Ann Downs
(1941-01-29) 29 January 1941 (age 74)
Albury, New South Wales
Occupation Actress
Years active 1960 - 2002 (theatre)
1971 - 2008 (film & television)
Notable work Prisoner
Spouse(s) Norman Kirkpatrick (deceased) (1963-1979) (divorced)[citation needed]
Children One

Margaret Anne "Maggie" 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. 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. In August 2015, she was convicted by a magistrate of indecent assault of a person under 16, dating back to 1984.[1]

Early years[edit]

Margaret Anne Kirkpatrick (née 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. Crissie thus brought up Margaret alone. She 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. Her mother sent her to drama lessons.

In 1960, at the age of 19, Kirkpatrick took her first professional acting job, with the theatre impresario John Alden with his John Alden 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.

Personal life[edit]

Margaret Anne 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, and eventually moved on to television and cinema.

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.

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 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.[1] She was subsequently sentenced to an 18-month community corrections order, including 100 hours of community service.[4]



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"


  1. ^ a b "Maggie Kirkpatrick, Prisoner star, found guilty of child sex offences". ABC News. Retrieved 20 August 2015. 
  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. ^ "Prisoner star Maggie Kirkpatrick avoids jail over teen sex abuse". The Sydney Morning Herald. 

External links[edit]