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The Mabo decision – 3 June 1992

Eddie Koiki Mabo was the first person to have his native title rights recognised. On behalf of his people – the Meriam people of the Torres Strait – he took this claim to the High Court of Australia (Mabo v Queensland No 2).

The High Court's landmark decision of 3 June 1992 overturned the concept of ‘terra nullius' (meaning that no one owned the lands before European Settlement). This paved the way for the recognition and protection of native title across Australia, and the passing of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth).

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander flags

The department acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the Traditional Custodians of the land and acknowledges and pays respect to their Elders, past and present.