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Marjorie Alexandrina Davey (nee Clarkson) 

Adventurous, kind, compassionate.

These are just a few words to describe Marjorie Alexandrina Davey. A long-term donor to WEHI’s highest priorities, Marjorie’s generous gifts have enabled WEHI the flexibility to fund research areas which will have the greatest impact. She also made the meaningful decision to include WEHI in her Will.

Marjorie became interested in medical research when her husband John was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. At the last moment, new treatment extended his life for another eight years. Her interest and engagement with WEHI continued until her passing in early 2023.

Marjorie Davey
Above: Marjorie Davey (1926-2023) in her youth

Marjorie was a bright student who excelled at maths, with her talent earning her a high school scholarship. As a teen, she grew up around Bondi and loved to surf (which was noteworthy back in the 40s!). She was a trailblazer and somewhat unconventional for the times.

Marjorie was fortunate to be sent to England in 1948 to visit family members, packed with supplies to help relatives post World War II. She enjoyed the travel so much that on her return, Marjorie worked to save sufficient funds to return to England for a working holiday, convincing one of her closest friends to accompany her.

They departed Melbourne on a ship that travelled via New Zealand, and while docked in Auckland, a shipping strike resulted in a delay of several weeks. Not to be perturbed by this, Marjorie and friend rented a car and drove themselves around New Zealand whilst they waited for the strike to end.

Eventually they reached England in 1952 and Marjorie worked as a secretary at a wool trading company. It was there that she met her husband- to-be John, in 1953. After a 6-week whirlwind engagement, John returned to Australia and Marjorie followed a few months later, where they married. Two children, Fiona and Ian soon followed.

Marjorie Davey
Above: Marjorie Davey in the later part of her life

Later on, John worked on the underground rail network, and in 1980 Marjorie had a brush with royalty, when the Queen opened Museum station in Melbourne (now known as Melbourne Central).

Ever conscientious about her appearance, Marjorie never left the house without her “face” on and was always meticulously dressed. She was creative, often sewing her own clothes and outfits. Marjorie enjoyed exploring her artistic side, engaging in woodwork, sculpture, silversmithing, icon painting and pottery.

Marjorie and her daughter Fiona often travelled, going to China, Taiwan, Mexico and the United States. Fiona recalled a time they went to Hawaii on a whim for a long weekend, after Marjorie saw a bargain advertised on the TV. While travelling, Marjorie enjoyed visiting famous sights and perusing museums; she would often “jump on a bus and disappear for a day” recounts Fiona.

Later in her life, Marjorie enjoyed weekly card games with friends and was a keen tennis player. She lived a full life on her own terms, and we are forever grateful for her thoughtfulness and generosity.

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Illuminate Summer 2023
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