Margaret Clements was born at Warangesda, a mission founded by Rev. John Gribble, one of Daniel Matthews’ closest associates, but largely grew up at Moonahcullah, an Aboriginal reserve near Deniliquin, where she was forcibly removed from her mother at the age of twelve and sent to the Cootamundra Girls’ Home and later into domestic service [hyperlink to the article in the Archive in which she spoke of this].

According to her account, she was recruited to her people’s cause in Melbourne in the mid-1930s by Helen Baillie [hyperlink to her entry in People and Organisations] and after the Australian Aborigines’ League was re-formed she became one of its vice-presidents. She sang alongside William Cooper and his family at concerts held in Melbourne [hyperlink to Collection 7], and he bestowed upon her a Yorta Yorta name, Lilardia.

She accompanied Cooper and Doug Nicholls to Sydney in January 1938 to attend the Day of Mourning, and the following year she supported the walk-off from Cumeroogunga by speaking at public meetings, raising funds for the refugees, and serving as the treasurer of the Aborigines Assistance Association.

For more biographical information, see Margaret Tucker, If Everyone Cared, Ure Smith, Sydney, 1977