Eddie Koiki Mabo Timeline

A Brief Timeline of Eddie Koiki Mabo's Life

Eddie Koiki Mabo timeline poster.
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PDF of the timeline poster.

b. June 29, 1936 – d. January 21, 1992

29 June 1936
Born on Mer (Murray) Island in the Torres Strait.

Left Mer Island and moved to mainland Australia.

1962 to 21 January 1992
Engaged in active community service in the spheres of politics, trade unions, Indigenous Australian rights and services, and public events.

1969 to 1975
Employed as a gardener at JCU and formed friendships with academic staff. Was an active JCU Library user researching non-Indigenous views of his land, people and culture.

Discovered he did not have legal title over his land on Mer Island in a discussion with JCU historians Noel Loos and Henry Reynolds.

August 1981
Spoke at a conference about land rights in the Torres Strait at JCU.
Decision made to take the Murray Islanders' case to court.

20 May 1982
Land rights case launched. Eddie Mabo is the first plaintiff in a group action.

8 December 1988
The High Court ruled in Mabo v Qld (No.1) that the Queensland Coast Islands Declaratory Act 1985 (Qld) was incompatible with the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth).

21 January 1992
Eddie Koiki Mabo passed away.

3 June 1992
The High Court overturned the legal doctrine of terra nullius 'land belonging to nothing, no one' delivering a verdict in favour of the Murray Islanders in Mabo v Qld (No. 2).

22 November 1992
Posthumously awarded the Australian Human Rights Medal.

26 January 1993
Recognised by The Australian newspaper as the 1992 Australian of the Year.

21 May 2008
JCU Library, Townsville, is officially named the Eddie Koiki Mabo Library.