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DateEvent
29 June 1936Born on Mer, the son of Robert Zezou [1] Sambo and Annie Mabo of the Piadaram clan. Because his mother died in childbirth, he was adopted under customary law by his uncle Benny Mabo and aunt Maiga.
1953-1957Worked on various trochus fishing luggers out of Mer.
1957Left Mer and moved to the mainland. Subsequently worked at various jobs including canecutter and railway labourer.
1959Married Bonita Nehow (born 1943).
1960-1961Union representative, Townsville-Mount Isa rail construction project.
1962-1967Worked for the Townsville Harbour Board.
1962-1969Secretary, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advancement League.
1967Helped organise seminar in Townsville: 'We the Australians: What is to Follow the Referendum?'
1967-1971Worked as gardener-groundsman, James Cook University.
1970Resigned from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advancement League because of the involvement of people he considered to be insincere 'do-gooders'. Became President of the all-black Council for the Rights of Indigenous People, which established a legal aid service, a medical service, and the Black Community School.
1973Mabo and family travelled to Thursday Island en route to Mer with the intention of visiting Mabo's dying father, but were denied entry to Mer.
1973-1983Director, Black Community School, Townsville.
1974-1978Member of the Aboriginal Arts Council.
1975-1980President, Yumba Meta Housing Association.
1975-1978Member, National Aboriginal Education Committee.
1978-1981Assistant Vocational Officer, Aboriginal Employment and Training Branch Commonwealth Employment Service.
1978-1979Member, Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies Education Advisory Committee.
1981Conference on land rights at James Cook University. Decision made to take the Murray Islanders' land case to the High Court.
1981-1984Pursued Diploma of Teaching, Townsville College of Advanced Education/James Cook University.
1982Land rights case launched. Plaintiffs were Mabo, Sam Passi, Father Dave Passi, James Rice and Celuia Mapo Salee.
1985Field Officer, QED Townsville Aboriginal Legal Aid Service. Received a research grant from the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies to study land tenure in Torres Strait. In an attempt to retrospectively abolish native land title in Torres Strait, the Queensland Government passed the Queensland Coast Islands Declaratory Act 1985.
1986-1987Director, ABIS Community Cooperative Society Ltd, Townsville.
1986-1987Assistant Director, Aboriginal Arts, Melbourne Moomba Festival.
1987-1988Employed by the Department of Aboriginal Affairs as Community Arts Liaison Officer, 5th Festival of Pacific Arts, Townsville.
1987-1988Vice-Chairman, Magani Malu Kes.
1988High Court ruled the Queensland Coast Islands Declaratory Act 1985 contrary to the Commonwealth Racial Discrimination Act 1975.
21 January 1992Edward Koiki Mabo died in Brisbane.
3 June 1992High Court delivered a 6:1 verdict in favour of Mabo, Mabo v State of Queensland (No. 2) (1992) 175 CLR 1, overturning the 205-year-old legal doctrine of terra nullius.
26 January 1993The Australian announced Eddie Mabo its 1992 Australian of the Year.

References

Loos, Noel and Mabo, Koiki. Edward Koiki Mabo: his life and struggle for land rights. Brisbane : University of Queensland Press, 1996.

 

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