Thorp was born on 12 June 1892 at Everton, Liverpool, England, daughter of James Herbert Thorp, medical practitioner, and his wife Anne Sturge, née Eliott. The family tradition had been immersed in the Society of Friends (Quakers). In 1911 the family migrated to Tasmania, Thorp’s parents were commission by the Society to advise the local Quaker community about the consequences of the Australian Defence Act of 1909. Shortly afterwards the family moved to Queensland. In 1916 Payne became a co-founder and the Secretary of the Queensland branch of the Women's Peace Army. Her role meant that she became a speaker at Queensland country centres Rockhampton to Mount Morgan.  Thorp was also interested in these years to investigate labour conditions in Queensland, and worked for three months in Johnson & Sons' boot factory, Brisbane. In November 1918 the Queensland Government was appointed Thorp as an Inspector of Factories and Shops.

In 1920 Thorp left Queensland for welfare work overseas in the Friends' War Victims Relief Committee, and Quaker teams under the British Red Cross Society. When Payne returned to Australia, it was to Sydney that she would live and developed her reputation as a welfare worker. In 1930 she had been appointed welfare officer for the New South Wales Society for Crippled Children. As she had done in the post-war conditions in Europe after World War I, Payne again took up relief work in Britain for the Society of Friends. In 1948, at the request of (Sir) Richard Boyer, Payne toured Australia for the United Nations Appeal for Children.

See Margaret Sturge (nee Thorp) Watts on Scatterplot Matrix.


Rutledge, Martha 'Watts, Margaret Sturge (1892–1978)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2002, accessed online 6 September 2015.

Summy, Hilary. Peace Angel of World War I, Dissent of Margaret Thorp. Brisbane, Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies . 2006.

Margaret Sturge (nee Thorp) Watts (1992-1978)

Quaker and Pacifist Theorist

Margaret Thorp Portrait
Margaret Thorp Portrait
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