June 3rd marks Mabo Day, this day commemorates an celebrates the efforts of Meriam man Uncle Eddie ‘Koiki’ Mabo in his fight for land rights and the landmark decision that overturned terra nullius for all our mob.

In 2002, Aunty Bonita Mabo, Uncle Eddie’s wife, called for Mabo Day to be a national holiday, their son Eddie Mabo Jr, said:

“We believe that a public holiday would be fitting to honour and recognise the contribution to the High Court decision of not only my father and his co-plaintiffs, James Rice, Father Dave Passi, Sam Passi and Celuia Salee, but also to acknowledge all Indigenous Australians who have empowered and inspired each other.

To date we have not had a public holiday that acknowledges Indigenous people and which recognises our contribution, achievements and survival in Australia.

A public holiday would be a celebration all Australians can share in with pride – a celebration of truth that unites Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and a celebration of justice that overturned the legal myth of terra nullius – Mabo symbolises truth and justice and is a cornerstone of Reconciliation”

You can read more about the Mabo v Queensland cases here.

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Mabo decision. Source: National Museum of Australia.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices or names of deceased persons in photographs, film, audio recordings or printed material. To listen to our Acknowledgement of Country, click here.