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A Library named after Eddie Koiko Mabo commemorates the link between the man who changed the land laws of Australia and James Cook University.

Eddie Mabo taught himself English by reading dictionaries while working on pearl luggers in the Torres Strait, and had little formal education. Mabo was a 34-year-old gardener at the university in 1974 when he discovered he did not legally own his traditional homeland of Mer Island in the Torres Strait. The realisation prompted the father of seven to start poring over legal texts and anthropological books, and then eventually challenge in the High Court the notion of ' terra nullius, the legal sleight of hand that held Australia was unoccupied when it was first claimed by the British.

Mabo died on January 21, 1992, just months before the High Court overturned ' terra nullius ', but his work almost single-handedly forced the authorities to recognise native title in a decision that has seen hundreds of successful indigenous land claims, and prompted ' The Australian ' newspaper to name him its Australian of the Year in 1993.


Address:James Cook Drive, James Cook University, Eddie Koiki Mabo Library, Douglas, 4811
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -19.328611
Long: 146.758056
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Structure
Monument Theme:People


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Wednesday 21st May, 2008
Front Inscription


The plaque commemorates the official naming of the Eddie Koiki Mabo Library by The Hon. Jenny Macklin M.P. Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

21 May 2008

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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