Mabo Day (Indigenous Australians)

Mabo Day Quick Facts

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2020 Date3 June 2020
2021 Date3 June 2021
Mabo Day (Indigenous Australians)

Mabo Day History

Mabo Day commemorates Eddie Koiki Mabo and his decade-long effort to make the Australian Government officially recognise that his people own Mer Island. On 3 June 1992, the High Court of Australia acknowledged that Mabo and his people had traditional land ownership agreements and that it was up to the people of Mer Island to determine who owned land today.

Mabo Day has been celebrated in Australia since 2002 as a turning point in indigenous peoples' rights in Australia. It is celebrated annually on June 3 as part of National Reconciliation Week.

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Mabo Day Facts & Quotes

  • Eddie Mabo was born in 1936 on Mer Island in the Torres Strait.
  • Originally, the legal principle of "terra nullius" was used to claim that the land belonged to no one when the British arrived and colonised Australia.
  • Following the recognition of Mabo's land in 1992, in 1993, the Australian government passed the Native Title Act, giving Australian Aboriginals legal rights and interests in certain land due to their own traditional laws and customs.
  • Today, native title has been recognised in more than 1 million square kilometres of land (about 15% of Australia's land mass).
  • A public holiday would be a celebration all Australians can share in with pride – a celebration of truth that unites Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and a celebration of justice that overturned the legal myth of terra nullius – Mabo symbolises truth and justice and is a cornerstone of Reconciliation - Eddie Mabo Jr, Eddie Mabo's son

Mabo Day Top Events and Things to Do

  • Go on an aboriginal heritage walk or cultural tour in your nearby city centre. Many different Australian Aboriginal organisations run these types of activities in partnership with local peoples.
  • Watch the BtN Mabo Day Story to gain a better understanding of the meaning and importance of the day.
  • Host a community BBQ or breakfast featuring indigenous cuisine commonly referred to as Bush Tucker. Many of these foods used local animals and plants to create dishes.
  • Raise awareness for the day on social media using hashtags #maboday, #eddiemabo, #notterranullius and #aboriginalrights.
  • Watch a movie about Australian aboriginals to gain a better understanding of their culture and history and the profound impact it has on the Australian nation as a whole. Some of our favourites include: Ten Canoes (2006), The Tracker (2002) and the First Australians (2013).

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