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Mabo home
Letters of E.K. Mabo to Mr. Marwer Depoma
The following is an extract from an eight-page letter written by Eddie Mabo in 1987. For years, he'd been conducting vigorous disputes by mail from Townsville about a piece of land and a house at Sebeg village. Eddie claimed he inherited it from his father and it formed a part of his submission for native title to the High Court of Australia. On the other hand Mr. Dipoma, who was a witness for the Queensland Government in the Mabo case, claimed he had inherited the land from his uncle. The exchange of letters between the two claimants was often furious and threatening:


Dear Mr. Dipoma,

Your letters are full of what normally drops off in your toilet after a good feed. My adoptive parents claim me alone as their son. You have no claim for that land. Now I'm telling you to move out or you'll be thrown out by force.



When I interviewed Mr. Dipoma in 1989 about his dispute with Eddie Mabo over Sebeg village this was his response:

Filmmaker: So you think Eddie Mabo is claiming too much land?

Mr. Dipoma: He can go and claim another family's land. Not here, this place. Not my uncle's place. He's got no claim for this land, or in the bush. He's only got one garden plot, at Aum. That's from his grandmother.
Keywords: inheritance, land boundaries, land ownership, Mabo, Edward Koiki, Sebeg, witnesses

Author: Graham, Trevor
Source: Mabo, Edward Koiki