The Expedition to Mer (Murray Island)

A photographic account of the proceedings of the ‘Mabo’ case on Mer (Murray Island) has recently been donated to the State Library of Queensland.

Album of Photographs Relating to the Mabo Case on Mer Island 1989

Album of Photographs Relating to the Mabo Case on Mer Island 1989

These photographs are an important visual record of the Mabo case, which eventually led to a formal recognition of Indigenous land rights in Australia in 1992. The album includes images (taken during May 1989) of the arrival of the judge, the lawyers and court reporters, as well as capturing the hospitality and welcoming ceremonies’ performed by the people of Mer.

Album of Photographs Relating to the Mabo Case on Mer Island 1989

Album of Photographs Relating to the Mabo Case on Mer Island 1989

Also shown are views of the courtroom being prepared by the women of Mer (in traditional Murray Island style), with the tables covered with cloths carrying local motifs and vases of bougainvillea decorating each table. Other scenes are of the courtroom as Justice Moynihan and legal counsels prepare to hear the witnesses.
The album captures the spirit and the essence of the ground breaking hearing that occurred during that time on Mer.

Album of Photographs Relating to the Mabo Case on Mer Island 1989

Album of Photographs Relating to the Mabo Case on Mer Island 1989

More resources available at the State Library of Queensland related to this topic:

 

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