Eddie Kioki Mabo

The man that made history

Biography

Eddie Koiki Mabo was born in 1937 on the island of Mer also known as Murray Island in the Torres Strait. His mother died whilst giving birth to him so he was adopted by his uncle, Benny Mabo and his aunt. His surname was changed from Sambo to Mabo and from an early age.


In 1959, he moved to Townsville in Queensland and held a variety of jobs. He married, Bonita Neehow, an Australian born South Sea Islander and they had seven children.


Watch this video for further information on Eddie Kioki Mabo:

"Mabo: Draw My Life." YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 10 Sept. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zfv3Ed_7ZGc>.

(Also at the bottom of the page)

What did Eddie do?


When Eddie was young daily life in the Torres Strait Islands was under very strict regulations made by the Queensland Government. Eddie believed in his heart the land he lived on belonged to the Torres Strait Islander people who had lived there for thousands of years, but when the Brittish came to australia they claimed Terra Nullius which means no mans land even though the Aboriginal people lived on the land they were claiming.

In 1981, Eddie Mabo made a speech in Queensland at James Cook University, where he explained his people’s beliefs about the ownership and inheritance of land on Mer. A lawyer heard the speech and asked Eddie if he would like to challenge the Australian Government in the court system, to decide who the true owner of land on Mer was his people or the Australian Government and this is exactly what Eddie Mabo did.



Short term and long term successes by Eddie Kioki Mabo

Short term successes

  • Presented the case before a judge was very successful because when the case did not win Eddie Mabo appealed to the higher level court than the one that the case didn’t win at.

  • The supporters of what Eddie Mabo was fighting for instantly lobbied behind him because they believed in claiming back their land.

  • Going through the legal system hierarchy because Eddie Mabo never gave up.


Long term successes

  • Keeping their land was successful because the land that was once the Australian's government was finally given back to the indigenous people.

  • Acknowledgement of native title for the indigenous people was granted to them so they could claim their rightful land.

  • Mabo day on the 3rd of June commemorates the courageous effort that Eddie Kioki Mabo fought for the indigenous Australians so they could claim back their rightful land that the Australian government took from them many generations ago.

HELPFUL PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SOURCES

Section 51 of the Australian Constitution

Constitution before the change in law

The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to:

(xxvi) the people of any race , other than the aboriginal race in any State, for whom it is deemed necessary to make special laws


Constitution after the change in law

The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to:

(xxvi) the people of any race , other than the aboriginal race in any State, for whom it is deemed necessary to make special laws


"COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA CONSTITUTION ACT - SECT 51."Commonwealth Consolidated Acts. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Sept. 2015. <http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/coaca430/s51.html>



Mabo2
Mabo anniversary
Mabo: Draw My Life