...I kicked up a hell of a stink...
In 1960, while working out west, Koiki became a union delegate for the Australian Railway Workers' Union. Because of his command of English, his fellow Islander labourers would rely on him to speak up for their rights:
'I learnt quite a bit about trade unionism while in the railways because the fellows at Hughenden were very much in favour of trade unions and I became very interested in organising the Islander groups to take union membership so that we don't get shoved around on the railway lines like they were doing to us. After a while I kicked up a hell of a stink and we organised this strike in the camps. But the mob were rather difficult to organise because we Torres Strait Islanders were too busy trying to get acquainted with the whole surroundings then. We were all new to the area.'
Keywords: Mabo, Edward Koiki, Marriage to Bonita, 10/10/1959, Queensland, railways, trade unions, 1957-1960
Loos, Noel and Mabo, Edward Koiki 1996, 'Edward Mabo: His Life and Struggle for Land Rights', University of Queensland Press.
Source: Mabo, Edward Koiki