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1992: High Court Decision in the Mabo Case

Eddie Mabo Marc Nemorin

3 June 2021 All day

This year marks the 29th anniversary of the Mabo Decision where six out of seven High Court judges agreed that the Meriam people held traditional ownership of the lands of Mer in the Torres Strait. Eddie Koiki Mabo successfully argued that his family’s ancestral land was not owned by the Crown. This landmark decision in the High Court of Australia overturned ‘terra nullius’, an understanding that Australia was empty land belonging to no one before British occupation. The decision paved the way for native title in the Native Title Act of 1993. Eddie died before the decision was handed down in 1992 but his life leaves a powerful legacy: the traditional connection and occupation of land by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is now recognised in law across Australia. 

Going Deeper: 


Prayer for Unity 

Creator God,  
may the power of Your grace transform us. 

Christ, give us courage and hope 
to manifest the unity we have in you, 
and to share our life with each other and the world. 

Holy Spirit,  
empower us to work for justice 
for the people of the earth. 

God, in your grace, 
transform the world. 


The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission (NATSIEC)  
of the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA), 2007. 


Eddie Mabo by Marc Nemorin 


Koiki by Mau Power, featuring Radical Son 

Koiki by Mau Power, featuring Radical Son