Eddie Mabo

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Throughout Australian history, there have been men and women who fought for the entitlements of the indigenous people. The most respected and recognised of these is Eddie Mabo, a Torres Strait Islander. Mabo stood up for the rights of his people from a very young age all the way to his death, in order to generate changes in the policies and laws of the government. Mabo battled for his right to own the land which he had inherited from his adoptive father, a fight which was resolved only after his demise. Despite this, Eddie Mabo became one of the key influential figures in the Aboriginal rights movement, as his strong will, determination, and intelligence allowed him to bring about change.

Early Life

Mabo was born on July the 25th, 1936 in the village of Laos on Murray Island. However, soon after his birth, his mother passed away. Because of this, Eddie’s father gave him away, to his brother, and Eddie’s uncle, Benny Mabo. From birth Eddie was taught the traditions and customs of the indigenous people by the elders as well as his family, while at the same time he learned to read and write from a teacher at the island school, Robert Miles. However, due to the state of the country at the time, no islander was expected to pass beyond primary school. His life was very simple and rudimentary, spending most of his time learning how to fish, grow plants, and sing the songs of his culture. At the age of 16, Eddie learned how to speak English, and began to question the way the system was run, and ask why his people were treated the way they were. However, he became infatuated with a young islander girl, which at the time, unless permission was given, was outlawed by the Queensland government. Because of this, Mabo was exiled from the island and sent to the mainland. He settled down in Cairns, and worked various jobs, until he met his future wife Bonita, whilst working on the railroads in 1958. They married on October the 10th one year later, and it...
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