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Mabo home
...a restless spirit...
'I confine myself here to the Land Rights case, the most significant point to make is that without Eddie the case would probably never have begun.

The case began when Eddie gave a speech at a conference here in Townsville in 1981. He spoke of Murray Island customs and traditions concerning land and urged that something should be done to have those customs recognised in Australian law. That speech triggered a very long legal saga that changed the lives of many people. Certainly it changed my life and that of my family and may yet bring even greater reforms and hopefully improvements for the lives of all Murray Islanders.

Throughout this last decade Eddie demonstrated to me many fine qualities which will be well known to you all. But for me and the lawyers we particularly remember his friendliness and hospitality, his initiative and originality, his courage and quiet determination, his intelligence and astonishing knowledge and memory of his people, his island, its history, customs and traditions. Above all I remember his deep commitment to correcting historical wrongs, some very personal, and to achieving recognition of traditional land rights of his family and his people.

He was in the best sense a fighter for equal rights, a rebel, a free thinker, a restless spirit, a reformer who saw into the future and far into the past.'

Keywords: death, Eddie Mabo's Death, 21/01/1992, funeral, Mabo Case, Mabo, Edward Koiki, Townsville, 1992

Bryan Keon-Cohen's speech at Eddie Mabo's funeral, 1 February 1992, in Loos, Noel and Mabo, Edward Koiki 1996 'Edward Mabo: His Life and Struggle for Land Rights', University of Queensland Press.
Source: Keon-Cohen, Bryan