Eddie Mabo

Aboriginal activist

Edward Koiki Mabo, a Meriam man from the island of Mer (Murray Island) in the Torres Straits, was born in 1936. He moved to Queensland in 1959, and began to work in a variety of jobs and on a number of campaigns, including the 1967 referendum campaign. In 1982, Mabo and four other Mer Islanders – Reverend David Passi, Celuia Mapoo Salee, Sam Passi and James Rice – began their legal claim for ownership of their lands the High Court of Australia. On 3 June 1992, the Mabo case altered the foundation of land law in Australia by recognising native title.