Womens Royal Australian Navy
Medals and Awards
2001 Centenary Medal Ambassador for the Aged
Australia Day Medal 1983 and1993
2010 South Australian NAIDOC Female Elder of the year
2010 Premiers Award
2015 Gladys Elphick Award
Marjorie Tripp was 17 when she signed up for the Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service and became its first Aboriginal member. Marj started her naval career in 1963, four years before she was even considered a citizen in her own land. It would be half a century before Marj saw Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander servicemen receive the recognition they deserved. Marj has remained committed to ensuring she and her fellow Aboriginal servicemen and women were appropriately recognised at home. It took seven years of lobbying and fundraising as Chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander War Memorial Committee before a permanent memorial to honour the tens of thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who served for our country was finally unveiled. For her work towards the recognition of the first Australians in the armed forces, and her promotion of improved aged care and health outcomes among the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, she was last month awarded an Officer in the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. Marj has worked at state and national levels for the past 30 years to ensure elders receive appropriate aged care and are involved in planning and policy. Throughout the 1980s she chaired the SA branch of the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) and was involved in setting up the Tandanya National Cultural Institute in Adelaide.
Marj was the longtime chairwoman of the Aboriginal Ex-Service Members and Dependants Project, an RSL-funded initiative set up to connect Aboriginal ex-service men and women and their families with the Department of Veterans Affairs support system.