• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: IMP0093

Tucker, Margaret Elizabeth

(1904 – 1996)
  • Born 1 January, 1904, Warrangesda Mission New South Wales Australia
  • Died 31 December, 1996
  • Occupation Author, Campaigner, Community worker


Margaret Tucker was co-founder of the Australian Aborigines League and was the first Aboriginal woman appointed to the Aborigines Welfare Board.


Margaret (Lilardia) Elizabeth Tucker was born on Warrangesda Mission and spent her early childhood on the Cummeragunja and Moonaculla Missions in New South Wales. Her father, William Clements, was Wiradjuri and her mother Teresa (Yarmuk) Clements, née Middleton, was Yulupna. At the age of thirteen, Tucker and her sister May were separated from their mother against her wishes and taken to the Cootamundra Girls’ Home. Tucker has written of her harrowing experiences under the care and training of the Aborigines Protection Board and in domestic service for white families in Sydney in her 1977 autobiography, If everyone cared.

By the 1930s, Tucker had begun to campaign for Aboriginal rights alongside other legendary Koori campaigners including William Cooper, Bill and Eric Onus, and Doug Nicholls. In 1932, she was co-founder of the Australian Aborigines League and on 26 January 1938 was one of the Victorian representatives observing the first national Day of Mourning. She was also instrumental in founding the United Council of Aboriginal and Islander Women in the 1960s. Tucker was the first Aboriginal woman appointed to the Aborigines Welfare Board (Victoria), 1964, and the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, 1968.

She was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (Civil) on 1 January 1968 for services to the Aboriginal community.



  • 2001 - 2001

    Inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women

Published resources

  • Book
    • If everyone cared : autobiography of Margaret Tucker., Margaret Tucker, 1977
    • If everyone cared : autobiography of Margaret Tucker M.B.E., Margaret Tucker, 1983
    • Another time/place [sound recording], Public Broadcasting Association of Australia
    • Talkin' up to the white woman : Aboriginal women and feminism, Moreton-Robinson, Aileen, 2000
    • Lousy little sixpence [videorecording], Alec Morgan, Gerald Bostock, c1984
    • Some Aboriginal women pathfinders : their difficulties and their achievements, Beeson, Margaret J (compiled by), [1980]
    • Stories of herself when young : autobiographies of childhood by Australian women, Hooton, Joy W. (Joy Wendy), 1935-, 1990
  • Videorecording
  • Resource Section
  • Edited Book
    • The Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia : Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, society and culture, Horton, David, 1994
  • Newspaper Article
    • Honours for Aborigines, 1972
    • Details of pioneers in Aboriginal movement., Horner, Jack, 1972
    • Aboriginal Writers in Australia, Beston, John B., 1976
    • National Aborigines Day, 1981
    • Aborigines Advancement League, Jackomos, Alick, 1978
    • Princess Lilardia as Guest of Queen Salote of Tonga., Cust, Sylvia, 1963
    • As I Saw the World Abroad, Tucker, Margaret, 1958
    • Historic meeting of two great peoples : Aboriginal King honours Canadian Indian Party, 1960
    • Original protester had a role in many groups, 1996
  • Journal Article
    • Marge Tucker, MBE, Jackomos, Alick, 1979
    • Character Above Colour: Fast Track to Assimilation? Margaret Tucker M.B.E. and the Politics of Assimilation, Hennessy, Gail
  • Resource
  • Site Exhibition

Archival resources

  • National Library of Australia, Manuscript Collection
    • If everyone cared [197-] [manuscript]
  • National Library of Australia
    • [Biographical cuttings on Margaret Tucker, awarded M.B.E. for services to Aboriginal welfare in 1968, containing one or more cuttings from newspapers or journals]
  • AIATSIS Books and Printed Material Collection
    • The Aussie image : the language of the image makers

Related entries

  • Related Places
    • Cummeragunja Reserve (1883 - )
  • Friend
    • Baillie, Helen