Eddie Koiko Mabo Print Page Print this page

The plaque which features a bas-relief portrait commemorates Eddie Koiko Mabo.  

Eddie Koiki Mabo (c. 29 June 1936 – 21 January 1992) was a Torres Strait Islander who is known for his role in campaigning for Indigenous land rights and for his role in a landmark decision of the High Court of Australia that overturned the legal fiction of terra nullius which characterised Australian law with regards to land and title.

Mabo worked on a number of jobs before becoming a gardener with James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland at the age of 31. The time he spent on the campus had a massive impact on his life. In 1974 this culminated in a discussion he had with Professor Noel Loos who told him his land on Mer Island belonged to the Crown. In 1981 a land rights conference was held at James Cook University, and Mabo made a speech to the audience where he spelt out the land inheritance system in Murray Island. The significance of this in terms of Australian common law doctrine was not missed by one of the attendees, a lawyer, who suggested there should be a test case to claim land rights through the court system.

 On 3 June 1992, five months after Eddie died,  the High Court announced its historic decision, namely overturning the legal state of terra nullius - ('land belonging to no one') which is a term applied to the attitude of the British towards land ownership on the continent of Australia. That decision is now commonly called "Mabo" in Australia and is recognised for its landmark status.



Address:James Cook Drive, James Cook University, Douglas, 4814
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -19.327222
Long: 146.756111
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 3rd June, 2007
Front Inscription

In memory of Eddie Koiko Mabo

Born Murray Island 29 -6 -1936
Died 21-1-1992
Aged 56 years

Loving husband of Bonita
Devoted father, father-in-law grandfather, brother brother-in-law, uncle and friend

He was a known and respected member in local, state and national organisations. 

His involvement in black affairs dates back to the early 1960's.

The most important one was the Murray Island Land Claim known as "Mabo Case"

He put so much of his strength, his inspiration, his fighting spirit and his wisdom into the case.

Which has profound significance, not only for the Murray Islanders, but also for the Torres Strait Aboriginal people and  Indigenous people everywhere.

"A Meriam man of Piadaram Clan" 

Always loved. 


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