Margaret Tucker

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Margaret Lilardia Tucker MBE (18 March 1904 – 23 August 1996)[1] was an Aboriginal Australian activist and writer.

Early life[edit]

Margaret Tucker was born at Warrangesda Mission near Narrandera to William Clements, a Wiradjuri man, and Theresa Clements, née Middleton, a member of the Yorta Yorta Nation.[2] She spent her childhood at Cummeragunja Aboriginal Reserve until at the age of 13 she was forcibly removed to the Cootamundra Domestic Training Home for Aboriginal Girls, where she was badly treated.[3] 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.[4]


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.[5] During this time she married and gave birth to a daughter, Mollie.[3] At first influenced by the Communist Party of Australia, she gravitated later towards the conservative Moral Re-Armament movement.[4] 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.[6]

Order of the British Empire[edit]

Tucker was awarded the MBE in 1968, recognising her welfare services to Aboriginal Australians. [7] Her 1977 autobiography If Everyone Cared was one of the first books to bring to light the mistreatment of her people.


Margaret Tucker was inducted in the Victorian Women's Honour Roll, one of the first to receive the honour, in 2001.[8]


  1. ^ "Patron of VACCA – Margaret Elizabeth Tucker, MBE". Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency. Archived from the original on 24 September 2010. Retrieved 10 May 2010.
  2. ^ "Remembering Margaret Tucker (1904 – 1996)". Koori History - Aboriginal History of South Eastern Australia. 6 March 2016. Retrieved 18 February 2020.
  3. ^ a b 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.
  4. ^ a b Jones, Jennifer (October 2001), "The Black Communist: The Contested Memory of Margaret Tucker", Hecate, 26: 135–145, ISSN 0311-4198
  5. ^ Land, Clare (4 May 2009). "Tucker, Margaret Elizabeth (1904 - 1996)". The Australian Women’s Register. Australian Women's Archives Project. Retrieved 9 May 2010.
  6. ^ "'Nan' still helps needy Aborigines". The Canberra Times. 50 (14, 267). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 6 January 1976. p. 3. Retrieved 13 August 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
  7. ^, "Margaret Elizabeth Tucker. For welfare services to the aborigines."
  8. ^ "Margaret Elizabeth Tucker".