We commemorate the anniversary of the 1992 landmark decision of the High Court of Australia overturning the legal fiction of terra nullius (a land belonging to no-one) at the time of colonisation.
We also honour the continuous connection that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have to land, sea and culture.
Eddie Koiki Mabo was a Torres Strait Islander who campaigned for indigenous land rights. Mabo’s story began in May 1982 when he and fellow Murray Islanders, David Passi, Sam Passi, James Rice and Celuia Salee launched a claim in the High Court for native title to the Murray Islands.
The High Court accepted the claim that Eddie Mabo and fellow claimants’ people had occupied the island of Mer for hundreds of years before European colonisation.
The Court found that the Meriam people were “entitled as against the whole world to possession, occupation, use and enjoyment of the lands in the Murray Islands.”
[Image via ww.abc.net.au]