...You're missing out on a good thing!...
In the midst of the food preparations in a Townsville paddock Eddie Mabo Jnr was interviewed by ABC Radio Melbourne, via a mobile phone. They questioned him about the customary practise of tombstone openings. Eddie explained that his father is buried in Townsville and tombstone unveilings are practised on the mainland, wherever there are Islander populations.
Eddie: Tradition dictates that the tombstone is wrapped. The material represents a gift back to the community, in our culture material is precious. They also like to keep the tombstone a big surprise. The tombstone ceremony is the way a grieving family can give back gifts to the community which supported them throughout their mourning.
Journalist: How many people do you expected to attend the ceremony?
Eddie: Well I don't think there's too many people left on Murray Island right now! With the celebrations, the tradition on Murray is, we race with our dancing, to see who's gonna be the best dancers, so the competition is going to be thick and fast on Saturday night. You're missing out on a good thing!
Journalist: Anita Keating and Robert Tickner are coming to the unveiling?
Eddie: They represent the wider Australian community paying their respects to my father and his achievements and I'm thankful for that acknowledgment.
Keywords: Bakir Auski, ceremony, desecration, Mabo, Eddie Jnr., Mabo, Edward Koiki, tombstone, Townsville, 1995
Author: Graham, Trevor