Margaret Tucker was born at Warrangesda Mission to William Clements, a Wiradjuri man and Teresa Clements, née Middleton, a Yulupna woman. She spent her childhood at Cummeragunja Mission until at the age of 13 she was forcibly removed to the Cootamundra Domestic Training Home for Aboriginal Girls where she was badly treated. After training at Cootamundra in 1919 she was sent out to work for a white family where she was abused. The Aborigines Protection Board intervened and she was given another placement from which she ran away. In 1925 the Board released her and she moved to Melbourne.
In the 1930s Tucker began campaigning for Indigenous rights with William Cooper, Bill Onus and Douglas Nicholls and in 1932 was one of the founding members of the Australian Aborigines' League. During this time she married and gave birth to a daughter, Mollie. At first influenced by the Communist Party of Australia, she gravitated later towards the conservative Moral Re-Armament movement. This deepened with an eight-month stay at Mackinac Island. In the 1960s she founded the United Council of Aboriginal and Islander Women and in 1964 was the first Indigenous appointee to the Victorian Aborigines Welfare Board.
Order of British Empire
Tucker was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1968, recognising her service to her community. Her 1977 autobiography If Everyone Cared was one of the first books to bring to light the mistreatment of her people.
- "Patron of VACCA – Margaret Elizabeth Tucker, MBE". Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency. Retrieved 10 May 2010.
- Land, Clare (4 May 2009). "Tucker, Margaret Elizabeth (1904 - 1996)". The Australian Women’s Register. Australian Women's Archives Project. Retrieved 9 May 2010.
- Wilde, William H.; Hooton, Joy; Andrews, Barry (1994). The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. pp. 760–61. ISBN 0-19-553381-X.
- Jones, Jennifer (October 2001), "The Black Communist: The Contested Memory of Margaret Tucker", Hecate 26: 135–145, ISSN 0311-4198
- As Long as She Got Her Voice article on editing If Everyone Cared