Great Northern Expedition
A Supreme Court judge has set a lime limit of three months to complete a trial establishing statements of fact in a long running court battle over land rights in the Torres Strait.
In May 1989, the Supreme Court of Queensland visited Murray Island to hear evidence in this historic case. The Supreme Court is to determine the facts surrounding the Murray Islanders claims. The High Court of Australia will then judge their legal validity and whether those claims have any status in Australian law.
A High Court decision recognising Islanders' land ownership could set significant legal precedents for similar land claims by Aboriginal people throughout mainland Australia.
As far as the Murray Islanders are concerned, it's very exciting, and we feel that's we've made history in terms of the highest court in Queensland coming out to an Aboriginal or an Islander community to sit in our public hall and listen to us.
Silence, ail stand please Oh yea, oh yea, oh yea,.. All persons having any business before this honourable court and its civil jurisdiction will now draw nigh and give your attendance and they shall be heard. God save the Queen.
Before we proceed with today's hearing, it's perhaps apposite that I remark that this is an historic occasion since it is the first sitting of the Supreme Court of Queensland on Murray Island. The case is an important one involving as it does people of Murray Island pursuing claims against the state of Queensland and the Commonwealth of Australia.
Sitting here helps me to understand the evidence concerning Murray Island, its people, and its culture and, perhaps most importantly, it, to a degree, enables the people of Murray Island to participate in the process of justice that's being worked out in these proceedings.
The Murray Islanders' Evidence
evidence, Mabo, Edward Koiki, Murray Island, plaintiffs, witnesses
Eddie Mabo's Evidence & The Hearsay Hurdle
evidence, hearsay, Mabo, Edward Koiki, oral evidence, oral tradition, plaintiffs
The Great Northern Expedition
Mabo, Edward Koiki, Moynihan, Justice Martin, Murray Island, Supreme Court of Queensland
evidence, Mabo Case, Murray Island, witnesses
Failure To Agree On The Facts
High Court of Australia, Mabo Case, plaintiffs, Queensland, Supreme Court of Queensland
The Leading Plaintiff
Mabo Case, Mabo, Edward Koiki, plaintiffs