(1904 to 1996)
Source: Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Studies
Like a number of Aboriginal activists in south-east Australia, Margaret Tucker grew up on Cummeragunja Reserve. Here, and at Moonaculla Inland Mission, Lilardia (her birth name) grew up with her mother's people. When she was 13 she was forcibly removed from her distraught mother and taken to Cootamundra Girls Training School, where she was trained as a domestic servant. When she was 18 she was freed from this servitude and reconnected with her own people.
Marg's beautiful singing voice is remembered by many. During the war years she helped organise social occasions among the Aboriginal community and performed as a member of a musical group raising funds for the war effort.
Her political life began in the Australian Aborigines' League, which was started by William Cooper in the mid-1930s. Marg was the treasurer in this organisation in the 1950s. She was appointed to the Victorian Aborigines' Welfare Board in 1965. She was a member of the Victorian Aborigines' Advancement League and regularly attended Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders (FCAATSI) annual conferences in Canberra. In the 1960s, with her sister Geraldine Briggs, she was instrumental in forming the United Council of Aboriginal and Islander Women, the first national body for Indigenous Australian women.
Her biography, If Everyone Cared, 1977, was one of the first generation of Aboriginal life stories which detailed the difficult lives of Aboriginal people growing up in the early decades of the twentieth century.
Margaret Tucker, If Everyone Cared: Autobiography of Margaret Tucker MBE, Ure Smith, Sydney, 1977