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50 Amazing Tidda Queens

Strong women are so important for our next generation of girls. How can Indigenous and Non-Indigenous girls alike strive for success if they cannot look up and see strong and proud women who have overcome barriers to be successful in their chosen field or in times past survived insurmountable odds to survive?

These women are role models for our daughters, they show through fortitude and belief in themselves that they can achieve. This possibility can fuel a young woman to believe they can be whoever they want to be. When we see other women surviving and thriving we are optimistic about our own potential.

This article has been a labour of love, researching these women has fuelled in us the need to promote and create the Tidda Queen almanac. We need our daughters to hear about strong women each and every day. We are proud to present the first 50 Tidda Queens, though this is just the start.

1. Truganini

Born in 1812, In Tasmania, she was part of the local Indigenous group who were moved from their land to the Aboriginal settlement, Flinders Island during the European invasion of Australia.

Truganinin was also baptised with a different name, Lallah Rookh, because of the “Europeanization” of Australia.

It was believed she gave birth to a daughter, Louisa Esmai.

She died on May 8, 1876, at the age of 64. Against her wishes, her skeleton was placed on public display at the Tasmanian Museum in 1904.

However, in April 1976, despite the hurdles she experienced even upon her death, her last wishes were met when her remains were cremated and scattered in the D'Entrecasteaux Channel.

2. Gladys Elphick

An Aboriginal community leader who was an active member of Aborigines Advancement League of South Australia, who organised social and sports events.

Gladys also was the founder and long running president of the Council of Aboriginal Women of South Australia. Through this organisation, she aimed to heighten the position of the Indigenous people in the community. In 1977, Gladys also founded the Aboriginal Medical Service.

‘Aunty Glad’ Elphick, a highly respected Elder in the Aboriginal community, was named as South Australian Aboriginal of the Year in 1984. Four years later, on 19 January 1988, she passed and was buried in the Centennial Park Cemetery.

3. Fanny Cochrane Smith

Aboriginal Tidda Queen, Fanny Cochrane Smith

Fanny Cochrane Smith was an Aboriginal Tasmanian leader and Indigenous cultural identity who was born in early December 1834.

At a young age of 12, she was already working as a domestic servant.

In 1876, Fanny asserted herself as the last remaining Tasmanian Aboriginal.

She and her husband, William Smith were one of the early converts to Methodism.

One of her contributions to Aboriginal cultural preservation is the wax cylinder recordings of her speaking and singing in early Tasmanian Aboriginal language.

This was the only valuable authentication of the Tasmanian Aboriginal song and speech.

On 24 February 1905, Fanny passed of pneumonia and pleurisy.

4. Joyce Clague

Amazing Tidda Queen and Aboriginal Women, Joyce Clague

Joyce Clague was one of the most determined Aboriginal political activists of our time.

At a young age, she showed her defiance of the “erasure” of Indigenous culture by continuing to use her mother tongue, the Yagal language.

Joyce Clague was one of the most significant figures in influencing the 1967 Constitutional Referendum.

In the campaign, also known as the “YES” vote, Joyce encouraged many non-Indigenous groups to register and vote for an inclusive society.

Her tenacity and bravery advanced Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people. She is an admired Tidda Queen to all Indigenous communities due to her tireless work for social change.

5. Kirstie Parker

Amazing Tidda Queen and proud Indigenous Women, Kristy Parker

Strong and proud Aboriginal woman Kristie Parker is a Yuwallarai woman from the northwest of New South Wales.

Kirstie has had some amazing distinctions through her tireless work for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.