The front cover of If Everyone Cared Enough.
by Margaret Tucker MBE

Margaret Lilardia Tucker MBE was a significant Aboriginal activist and one of the first Aboriginal women to publish for mainstream audiences. Her landmark autobiography – If Everyone Cared – is set to be republished by NLA Publishing in a new edition titled If Everyone Cared Enough. This nationally significant publication aims to reinstate the original words of Aunty Marge, as she was affectionately known, and shed light on the previously omitted descriptions of her culture and personal experiences.

Originally published in 1977, If Everyone Cared was a groundbreaking work that required significant alterations to cater to non-Indigenous readers who had limited knowledge of Aboriginal cultures and the consequences of settler invasion from a First Nations perspective. As a result, Tucker's tone and content were modified, and her original Aboriginal storytelling voice was altered.

If Everyone Cared Enough draws from the handwritten manuscript held in the collections of the National Library of Australia, allowing readers to experience Tucker's story as she originally wrote it. The republished autobiography commences with her joyful early memories of swimming, fishing, and learning, but also delves into the abrupt end of her childhood when she was sent to the Cootamundra Domestic Training Home for Aboriginal Girls. Tucker fearlessly recounts the horrors of the training, the cruelty of her first employer, and the profound loneliness, homesickness, and heartache she endured.

Throughout her life, Tucker remained dedicated to fighting for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights and opportunities. In 1932, she became the treasurer of the Victorian Aborigines League, one of the country's first Aboriginal organisations. Her tireless efforts were recognised when she was awarded an MBE in 1968.

This autobiography serves as a testament to the resilience and determination of a remarkable woman who overcame immense hardships to achieve recognition for herself and her people. The new edition includes photographs featured in the original edition, as well as new images supplied by Tucker's family, and a foreword from The Hon. Linda Burney MP.

‘Aunty Marge’s book had a profound effect on me when I first read it,’ said Minister Burney. ‘Aunty Marge’s original book was a valuable step towards the kind of truth-telling we look to embrace today, working towards reconciliation, and a deeper understanding of our shared histories. This edition is her truth and an important story to be heard by all Australians.’