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Thirty years after the Mabo decision exhibition

Eddie Koiki Mabo

Cultural warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this webpage contains the names and images of deceased persons.  

About the exhibition

From 27 May 2022 visit Parliament House to experience a free exhibition marking 30 years since the Mabo decision. Explore the impact the decision had on Australia through archival photographs, film footage and works of art from the Parliament House Art Collection.

On 3 June 1992, the High Court of Australia handed down the landmark ruling on Mabo v Queensland No. 2, altering the foundation of land law in Australia.

The claim was initiated by the Meriam people of Dauer, Waier and Mer of the Murray Island Group in the Torres Strait. Edward Koiki ‘Eddie’ Mabo led the claim along with Celuia Mapo Salee, James Rice, David Passi and Sam Passi.

The ruling dismissed the legal concept of terra nullis – that Australia was a land belonging to nobody.

In response to the ruling, the Australian Parliament passed the Native Title Act on 22 December 1993. The Act established a legal pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to claim their traditional rights over lands and waters.

The decision marked a significant step forward in the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

We acknowledge the Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their continued connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to their Cultures, Country and Elders past, present and emerging.

We acknowledge the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people, who are the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and live, the land on which this exhibition was created, and the land on which Australian Parliament House is situated – an area where people have met for thousands of years.

Image: Edward Koiki Mabo at Las, Mer (Murray Island), September 1989. Still from 'Land Bilong Islanders' (1990). Copyright Trevor Graham and Yarra Bank Films.

Friday 27 May to Sunday 6 November 2022 


Free for 2 hours and on weekends
Daily parking rates

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We acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of country throughout Australia and acknowledge their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to the people, the cultures and the elders past, present and emerging.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this website may contain images and voices of deceased people.