Eddie Mabo is celebrated today in what would be 30 years since his passing. While it may be bittersweet, Eddie ultimately got the rights to his native land.
Claiming the Mer Island
Today, the grandson of Eddie Mabo is continuing the legacy as his grandfather fought hard to get back the ownership of his native land. But, before he could reap what he had sown, Eddie sadly died a few months before the verdict was read.
According to ABC News, Eddie had many things in his life. This includes being a school principal, a cultural teacher, a bus driver, an activist, and a gardener.
On one fateful day, while working at James Cook University as a gardener, Eddie Mabo found himself talking about his native land which is the Mer Island.
Bittersweet victory for Eddie Mabo
Basically, what Eddie learned is that this land is not owned by the Mer people. This evidently stirred up some feelings of frustration which led Eddie to take this matter to court.
After ten years of fighting in court, six out of seven judges ruled that the Meriam people had the rights to their land. Unfortunately, Eddie Mabo did not live to see the victory. As he had passed on a few months before the verdict was read.
Today, his daughter reflects that his efforts were not in vain and his grandson is continuing his legacy by raising funds in order to restore the island to what it was before.
“He achieved what he set out to do, which was get his land back. That was the proudest moment.”
Moreover, his grandson has also been pushing for June the third to be a national public holiday in honor of his late grandfather Eddie.