Australia. High Court

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On 3 June, 1992, the High Court of Australia delivered its landmark Mabo decision which rewrote the Australian common law and gave a massive boost to the struggle for the recognition of Aboriginal land rights. Put simply, the decision said that under Australian law, Indigenous people have rights to land - rights that existed before colonisation and which still exist. This right is called native title. By a majority of six to one, the High Court ruled that native title to land is recognised by the common law of Australia, throwing out forever the legal fiction that when Australia was 'discovered' by Captain Cook in 1788 it was 'terra nullius', an empty or uncivilised land. The case centred on the Murray Islands in the eastern part of the Torres Strait Islands between Australia and Papua New Guinea. The Meriam people, led by Eddie Koiki Mabo, took the action to the High Court to overturn the doctrine of 'terra nullius'.

From the description of 6837 Justice Moynihan - Determination re Mabo Case Papers, 27 Feb 1986. (Libraries Australia). WorldCat record id: 755760230

Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Balderstone, Simon. person
associatedWith Bond, Edwin Merton. person
associatedWith Holmes, J. D. (John Dashwood), 1907-1973. person
associatedWith Howard, Harry Stanton. person
associatedWith Mabo, Eddie, 1936-1992. person
associatedWith Moynihan, Martin. person
associatedWith O'Meally, William John. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Aboriginal Australians
Land tenure
Land use
Native title (Australia)

Corporate Body



Ark ID: w6352nv9

SNAC ID: 67993561