Posted by: Lisa Hill | July 7, 2021

If Everyone Cared (1977), by Margaret Tucker, guest review by Margaret (Meg) Broughton

Cultural warning to Indigenous readers: This post contains the names of people who have passed away.

It is with great pleasure that for #IndigLitWeek, I am hosting a guest review of If everyone Cared, the autobiography of Margaret Tucker, by regular reader and occasional guest reviewer Margaret (Meg) Broughton, who loves reading, especially Australian fiction and non fiction.

Although Margaret Tucker (1904-1006) was born in NSW, she moved to Melbourne in 1925 and was inducted into the Aboriginal Victoria Honour Roll in 2013:

Margaret Tucker, or Aunty Marg, was one of Australia’s earliest female Aboriginal activists and a leading figure of the 20th Century. Her optimism and unflagging work ethic helped fuel a movement that won rights once considered unimaginable for Aboriginal people in Victoria and around Australia.

Her autobiography, If Everyone Cared was first published in 1977 by Ure Smith in Sydney.  I have a copy of my TBR but I have not had time to read it yet so I’m very pleased that Margaret is sharing her thoughts about it here.

“Mrs Margaret Tucker’s story – the story of herself, the Aboriginal Lilardia.

Margaret Tucker was an Indigenous, and a deeply religious woman that everyone should acknowledge and be proud of in Australia. She was a marvellous woman with great wisdom, and a wonderful ambassador for her people and for Australia.

She cared about everyone.  Her autobiography is simply told and written from the heart.

Born in 1904 on an Aboriginal Missionary Settlement on the banks of the Murray, Liliarda had a happy and carefree childhood, living with her mother and father, and her two sisters.  She was taught by Missionaries, and her Christian faith had a powerful influence on her life and character.

However, she was also a proud Aboriginal, and was educated in her cultural traditions and language from her mother, great grandmother and uncles.  She had a loving relationship with all family members, but her mother was the dominant force in her life.  Her  father was a roamer and was often away searching for work, at one time away for five years.  

At the age of 13, Lilardia, and her sister were snatched from school to be trained as a domestic servants.  They became members of the ‘stolen generation’.  In these years of forced employment she suffered from cruelty and racism.

In 1925 she was released from service and moved from Sydney to Melbourne and worked in factories.  She loved singing and joined a choir that was started by the notable Aboriginal tenor Harold Blair (A.M).  She married and had one daughter, but her marriage broke up.  However, despite her own hardships she reached out and helped her people.

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 (the beginning of NAIDOC). Harold Blair, after a visit to America, invited her to be part of a delegation to the Moral Re-Armament Training Centre.  She was now in her 50s and doubted her abilities.  She also suffered from claustrophobia, but saw the opportunity to learn more and understand more, and accepted the opportunity.  She was proud to represent Australia, and to be introduced by her tribal name Lilardia. She attended lectures and meetings. After 3 weeks she wanted to return to Australia but stayed for 8 months “I began to realize that Moral Re-Armament was an old truth, true Christianity in action, starting with oneself.”

In 1964, she was the first Aboriginal woman appointed to serve on the Aborigines Welfare Board.

In her last chapter she states “As I write this it is our National Aboriginal Day….a day of mourning. Some make it a day to voice political action.  ..I remember the words I heard on Mackinac Island: “If everybody cared enough and everybody shared enough there would be enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed…….”It is not the colour of one’s skin that matters, it is character.

Many of Margaret Tucker’s great achievements are not included in the book.  Even though published in 1977, the autobiography makes no mention that in 1968, Margaret Tucker was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (Civil).  In 2001, she was inducted to the Victorian Honour Roll of Women, and to the Aboriginal Victoria Honour roll in 2013, and you can read about her other achievements there.

She passed away in 1996.

This autobiography I really enjoyed.  It does chop around a bit, but it has many fascinating stories that are impossible to include in this review.  I did learn so much about Lilardia, and how she struggled for her people. 

Margaret Tucker was born in NSW of Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta descent.

Author: Margaret Tucker
Title: If Everyone Cared
Publisher: Grosvenor Books, 1983, first published in 1977 by Ure Smith in Sydney.
ISBN 0959262202

Thanks, Meg, for your contribution to #IndigLitWeek!


  1. Another wonderful woman whose life tells us that we need to know of the strength and wisdom of indigenous people. Their courage and commitment an example we need to honour.


    • Indeed yes. That photo on the front cover shows that dignity and strength.


  2. It’s so good to discover more stories by Indigenous people. I hadn’t known of this one at all until Meg mentioned it.


    • I’d heard of Margaret Tucker but I’d never heard of her book either until I came across it in an Opshop. I’ve run out of time to read any more books for #IndigLitWeek so I was rapt when Margaret offered this guest review, it means I can leave reading it myself until #IndigLitWeek 2022 and do it the justice it deserves.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have a little shelf of books for the week, but I may read one or two later in the year.


        • When you do, just remind me to add them to the reading list, because once July is over, #FadingBrainCells I sometimes forget even to add my own reviews…


  3. […] See Margaret (Meg) Broughton’s guest review at ANZ LitLovers […]


  4. Hi Sue, I too had this book sitting on my shelf waiting to be read. I am so glad Lisa, prompted me to read it. I asked my friends if they had heard of Margaret Tucker, but they too did not know about her. And as Fay says, she is a woman who should be honoured. She was a wonderful and caring woman that all Australians can admire.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree. Sharing her story is a start, so I’m grateful to you!


  5. I suspect there was a similar burst of materials like this in the later ’60s and early ’70s in response to the civil rights movements of the ’60s in (what is now called) Australia just as there was in (what is now called) Canada; unfortunately many of them have fallen out of print now, but are still worthwhile reading.


    • Yes, there was a similar phenomenon here and I read a lot of them back then…


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