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Tucker, Margaret (1904 - 1996)



Margaret Tucker
Author, Campaigner and Community worker

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

[Gary Foley]