Edward Koiki Mabo

1. Show students the map of Mer created by Mabo. Ask students how they know who owns the land in their neighbourhood? Generate further questions to relate Mabo’s map to the defining of ownership boundaries today.

2. Tell your students that they will be researching a significant event in Australian history. In groups of four, each group member will find the answer to one component of the story.

Divide the students into groups. Teams should allocate one of the following areas of research to each person in their group:

  • Define the concept of ‘terra nullius’.
  • On Google Maps, locate Possession Island and Mer (Murray) Island in the Torres Strait.
  • Find out who Edward Koiki Mabo was.
  • Find out when the decision in the Mabo case was handed down.

When the research is complete, students should share their findings with the other members of their group.

3. As a class, compile a list of fundamental human rights. Students should compare the class list with the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights to find the similarities and differences. 

4. Ask students to investigate the response of the media to the Mabo judgement. As a class, draw up a table dividing the media outlets into those who were for, neutral and against the findings.

5. Ask students to draft a map of either their school or their home. Students should draw a final version of the map on A3 paper and include a scale and key.