This is what would have happened to anyone who tried to take our lands in the early days. They would have had their heads taken off with a bamboo knife though.
But today we have to use their kind of weapons, so we took them to court.
I'm plaintiff for this court case, all right. You know why I get in there? This area, this land here's ours. Our ancestors were living here for many, many, many years before I was born. There was no white people. Alright? There was no white people here on Murray Island.
It's my father's land, it's my grandfather's land, my grandmother's land... where I'm related to it. And, ah... which also gives me my identity. Ah. If I don't fight far it, then... ah... I will be moved out of it and that will be loss of my identity. Therefore, I'm fighting very hard in that case. That's why I became a plaintiff.
If only we can get those people to recognise us... I suppose by saying that, that the only way that we can prove that the system do exist is to convince the white man's law system to recognize that we have a custom, a tradition and set of rules that we have to abide by.
Eddie Mabo is the first named Plaintiff in the court action which has become known as the Mabo Case.
Like his fellow plaintiffs Mabo claims that he and his family, not the state, should have legal title to land on Murray Island.
In 1989 the plaintiffs appeared in the Queensland Supreme Court to give evidence in support of their claims.
Indigenous Customary Law
indigenous people, Mabo judgement, native title
Belonging To Country
aborigines, Australia, dreamtime, indigenous Australians, land ownership, land rights, sacred
Adapted To Their Continent
Australia, First Fleet, indigenous people, land use
A Sacred Landscape
aboriginal property ownership, anthropology, Australia, clans, dispossession, kinship, land ownership, religion, sacred
barristers, Mabo Case, Mabo, Edward Koiki, plaintiffs
The Murray Islanders' Evidence
evidence, Mabo, Edward Koiki, Murray Island, plaintiffs, witnesses
Eddie Mabo - Linchpin
Mabo Case, Mabo, Edward Koiki, Mabo family
evidence, Mabo Case, Mabo, Edward Koiki, plaintiffs
Mabo Case Commences
claim, High Court of Australia, Mabo Case, Mabo, Edward Koiki, plaintiffs
Preparations On The Long Journey To Justice
Mabo Case, Mabo, Edward Koiki
Great Northern Expedition
Great Northern expedition, Mabo Case, Mabo, Edward Koiki, Mer, Moynihan, Justice Martin, Murray Island, Supreme Court of Queensland
The Leading Plaintiff
Mabo Case, Mabo, Edward Koiki, plaintiffs