Melissa is of Bundjalung descent with family links to the Baryulgil area near Grafton. Born in Crown Street Women’s Hospital she has spent her whole life in Sydney. Melissa worked in various government departments, including Department of Housing and Attorney General's Department before starting work at the State Library of New South Wales in 1991. One of two Indigenous Services Librarians, she has a background in teaching and obtained her librarianship qualifications from University of Technology Sydney. Melissa is a past President of ATSILIRN, the national body representing Indigenous library workers.