Mabo Day recognises and celebrates the achievements of the late Eddie Koiki Mabo, who campaigned up until his death for Indigenous land rights. He was born on Mer (Murray Island) in the Torres Strait between Australia and Papua New Guinea, and died of cancer at the age of 55.
Five months later, on 3 June 1992, the High Court announced its historic decision (known subsequently as Mabo) and overturned the doctrine of terra nullius – a term applied by the British towards land ownership in Australia, which did not recognise the rights of Indigenous people.
In 1993, the Australian Parliament passed the Native Title Act, which recognised the unique rights that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have to land and waters in Australia.
In the spirit of genuine reconciliation, perhaps one day, Mabo Day will be celebrated as a public holiday in Australia.