Born on the Australian island of Mer at the top of Australia in 1936, Edward Koiki Mabo was an energetic campaigner for the rights of indigenous people and their claim to the lands declared terra nullius, or belonging to no one, despite the history of its earlier inhabitants.
He also set up a health service and a school in Townsville, Queensland where he lived with his wife and their ten children.
The “Mabo Case” triumphed in the High Court in 1992 - overturning terra nullius and forcing the recognition of indigenous native title, returning ownership of the islands to the indigenous people.
Although he died shortly before the verdict, Eddie Mabo’s activism changed the lives of so many. That court decision meant that the fiction of terra nullius - that Australia belonged to no one when first claimed by the British - was overturned.
Today’s Google Doodle is a tribute to Edward Koiki Mabo’s legacy on what would have been his 80th birthday. Google created the artwork with the blessing of Gail Mabo, Eddie's daughter.
Posted by Cecelia Herbert, Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Google Australia