Tipping, Marjorie

Full Name: 
Tipping, Marjorie Jean
Other Names: 
Marjorie Jean McCredie
Marjorie Jean McCredie Tipping
Date Born: 
26 March 1917
Date Died: 
28 September 2009
Place Born: 
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Place Died: 
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Home Country: 
Australia
Gender: 
female
Subject Area: 
Australian colonial
Institution: 
University of Melbourne
Overview: 

Australian colonial art historian and art patron. Marjorie Jean McCredie was born to John Alexandra and Florence Amelia Paterson (McCredie). During her childhood, McCredie was influenced by her parents’ politics, her father a Fabian socialist and her mother active in the Australian National Women’s League. McCredie grew up in Princes Hill and Kew, Australia. She attended Presbyterian Ladies’ College boarding school and the University of Melbourne, where she graduated. During her time at the University of Melbourne, Tipping worked as a part-time journalist for the Suns News-Pictorial, writing a regular column, called “Farrago.” It was then edited by her future husband, E.W. (Bill) Tipping (1915–1970). They married in 1942, she taking the name Tipping.

During the second World War, Tipping continued to work as a part-time journalist, eventually moving to a full-time position at the magazine Scientific and Industrial Research. Additionally, she held a position in the industrial welfare and human resources department at Cyclone, a company that manufactured mosquito nets and stretchers for the war effort. The family lived in Boston, Massachusetts a the year when her husband was presented an award at Harvard University in 1951. During that year, Tipping took numerous classes at Harvard that furthered in her interests in the arts and history before returning to Australia. In 1965, She convened the first conference of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria. The family returned to the US in 1968, where her husband had been appointed Washington correspondent for the Herald but due to his rapidly declining health, they returned to Australia the same year. In 1968, Tipping became the first woman fellow of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria. After her husband’s death in 1970, Tipping founded a charity for children with disabilities in her husband’s name. She published her husband’s collected writings, The Tipping Olympics, Melbourne - 1956, Rome - 1960, in 1972.

From 1972 to 1975, Tipping served as the first woman president of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria. Motivated by the Foundation Herald Chair of the Fine Arts at the University of Melbourne, Professor Sir Joseph Burke, Tipping began researching for a work on Australian landscapes, later published as Eugene von Guerard’s Australian Landscapes (1975). It was this work that began her interest in the arts and research, particularly of colonial Australia.

In 1977, she published the picture book, Melbourne on the Yarra. Her 1978 book, The Life and Work of Ludwig Becker (1808-1861) garnered her an honorary MA in art history from the University of Melbourne.  Following this publication, Tipping produced an edition of the sketches of colonial artist William Strutt: Victoria the Golden. Tipping was named a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1981. A year later, she published an edition of the journals of Australian artist Eugene Von Guerard (1811-1901), An Artist on the Goldfields. She returned to the topic of colonial Australian history, publishing Convicts Unbound: The Story of the Calcutta Convicts and their Settlement in Australia in 1988. She later consulted for the Grundy Television’s series Convicts Unbounded. She produced entries for the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

The University of Melbourne granted her the first woman to earn the degree of Doctor of Letters by examination in 1990. In 1999, Tipping served as a contributor to both the Encyclopedia of Melbourne project at Monash University and the University of Melbourne’s Oral History project. She died of a stroke in 2009, age 92.

Selected Bibliography: 
  • Eugene von Guerard’s Australian Landscapes. Melbourne: Lansdowne Editions, 1975;
  • Melbourne on the Yarra. Melbourne: Lansdowne Editions, 1977;
  • Ludwig Becker: Artist & Naturalist with the Burke & Wills Expedition. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1978;
  • Victoria the Golden. Melbourne: Parliament of Victoria, 1980;
  • An Artist on the Goldfields. South Yarra: Currey O’Neill, 1982;
  • Convicts Unbound: The Story of the Calcutta Convicts and their Settlement in Australia. New York City: Viking O’Neill Publishing, 1988.
Sources: 
Contributors: 
Kerry Rork