Eddie Mabo Essay

Words: 1295
Pages: 6


Throughout Australian history, there have been men and women who fought for the entitlements of the indigenous people. The most respected and recognised of these is Eddie Mabo, a Torres Strait Islander. Mabo stood up for the rights of his people from a very young age all the way to his death, in order to generate changes in the policies and laws of the government. Mabo battled for his right to own the land which he had inherited from his adoptive father, a fight which was resolved only after his demise. Despite this, Eddie Mabo became one of the key influential figures in the Aboriginal rights movement, as his strong will, determination, and intelligence allowed him to bring about change.

Early Life

Mabo was born on
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The revelation changed his life forever, and motivated him even further to fight for his right to own the land which his family had lived on for generations. During his time working as a gardener at James Cook University, he would sit in on lectures. It was through this behaviour that he learned about the white legal system, and devised ways in which he could use it in order to reclaim his land. After a long and arduous battle both inside and outside the courtroom, the government began to consider Mabo’s requests. However, while they considered it, they did not want to give him ownership of land on Murray Island, instead attempting to find loopholes through which they could discredit his claims. The main excuse which they used was that Mabo was not adopted legally through the Queensland court system, instead through islander law, which does not hold any authority in their courts.
The court case to give the land on Murray Island back to the original, indigenous owners outlived Eddie however, as he passed away in 1992 after an extensive fight against cancer.

Personal Struggles

Throughout his life, Mabo was the victim of many setbacks and faced many obstacles. The first of these was his banishment from Murray Island, as he had to fight for survival from a young age, fending for himself at 16. This, coupled with society’s racist views at the time, made growing up very difficult for him. Because racism was still prevalent at the time, obtaining work and