Woman Tipping, Marjorie Jean McCredie (1917 - 2009)

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Alternative Names
  • McCredie, Marjorie Jean (Maiden)

Written by Susan Foley and Charles Sowerwine, The University of Melbourne

Marjorie McCredie was born in 1917 in Melbourne. Her father emerged from early difficulties to become a stallholder at the Queen Victoria Market, benefited from an inheritance which, by the late 1920s, ensured that the family was comfortably well off; her mother ran the home. Her father's progressive and anti-war opinions may have influenced her. She attended Presbyterian Ladies' College (Melbourne), and then attended the University of Melbourne, where she wrote a regular column for Farrago, then edited by E.W. [Bill] Tipping), whom she married in 1942. They had three children, including one who was severely handicapped.

After the death of her husband in 1970, Marjorie Tipping led in the founding of the E W Tipping Foundation for Mentally Retarded Children and Adults, established that year. Her first book project was to collect and prepare her husband's writings published as The Tipping Olympics, Melbourne - 1956, Rome - 1960 (1972). Profits went to the Tipping Foundation. Following a request from Professor Sir Joseph Burke, the Foundation Herald Chair of Fine Arts at the University of Melbourne, that she write the text for Eugene von Guerard's Australian Landscapes (1975), she oriented herself toward research and writing about art and colonial Australia. She then published a classic picture book, Melbourne on the Yarra (1977), before returning to the University of Melbourne for an MA, awarded in 1978 for 'The life and work of Ludwig Becker (1808-1861): with a critical analysis of his Australian oeuvre and an appreciation of his contribution to artistic and scientific developments in Victoria'. She published this in a popular form under the title, Ludwig Becker: Artist & Naturalist with the Burke & Wills Expedition (1978). She then prepared the text and scholarly apparatus for an edition of the sketches of the colonial artist William Strutt: Victoria the Golden (1980), followed by an edition of von Guerard's journals: An Artist on the Goldfields (1982, second edition 1992). In 1988, she published her masterpiece, the book that established her as a leading historian of colonial Australia: Convicts Unbound: The Story of the Calcutta Convicts and their Settlement in Australia.

Tipping was the first woman fellow (1968) and then the first woman president (1972-1975) of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria. She contributed many notices to the Australian Dictionary of Biography. She was named a Member of the Order of the British Empire (13 June 1981) for her contribution to the Arts. In 1990, she became the first woman to earn the degree of Doctor of Letters by examination from the University of Melbourne, based on her many published scholarly works. Tipping was a member of the Victorian Council of the Arts and numerous other committees and community organisations. She died in Melbourne in 2009.

Additional sources: Correspondence and discussion with Dr David McCredie and Mr John McCredie, brothers of Marjorie Tipping.

Published Resources

Journal Articles

  • 'Birthday Celebration', Melbourne Graduate, vol. 60, no. 3, 2007, p. 6. Details
  • Tipping, Marjorie, 'A Circle of Learning: Personal Memories', The La Trobe Journal, vol. 80, Spring 2007, pp. 5-14. Details

Newspaper Articles

  • Veitch, Harriet, with Mimi Colligan and Susan Priestley, 'Scholar who ignited Batman controversy', The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 November 2009, p. 22. Details

Online Resources