University Of Tasmania

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Remembering Koiki and Bonita Mabo, pioneers of Indigenous education

posted on 2023-05-24, 07:04 authored by Paul TurnbullPaul Turnbull
Twenty-six years have now passed since Australia’s High Court recognised the continuation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples rights of ownership and free enjoyment of their ancestral lands. Prior to 1992, land laws enacted by the British parliament and subsequent Australian legislatures were grounded in the presumption that the British Crown acquired sovereignty over the continent of Australia and its coastal islands by occupation (or settlement) of terra nullius - land without existing owners. This is not to say that British and Australian governments ignored the presence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. On the contrary they acknowledged the longevity of Indigenous occupation and land usage, but they held that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples did not have forms of social organisation that enabled the exercise of sovereignty and thus forms of title to land which under English Common Law that the British Crown was obliged to recognise.


Publication title

Mabo’s Cultural Legacy: History, Literature, Film and Cultural Practice in Contemporary Australia


G Rodoreda and E Bischoff






School of Humanities


Anthem Press

Place of publication

United Kingdom



Rights statement

Copyright 2021 Geoff Rodoreda and Eva Bischoff editorial matter and selection; individual chapters © individual contributors

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Conserving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and culture; Expanding knowledge in history, heritage and archaeology