AIAS provides small grant to Edward Koiki Mabo
In 1984, a small grant was awarded to Mr Mabo by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies to record traditional boundaries on Mer Island.
A High Court action was launched on 20 May 1982 by Eddie Koiki Mabo, Sam Passi, David Passi, Celuia Mapo Salee and James Rice—a group of Torres Strait Islanders—objecting to Queensland legislation to take free hold title of their land and give back a deed of trust. They feared the deed of trust would mean losing rights to self-management of their land.
The main plaintiff, Mr Mabo, was the chairman of the Islanders' Council. His argument stated that Mer (Murray) Islanders had owned the land since time immemorial, because of ownership by custom and traditional native title and the title had not been interfered with by Queen Victoria or the Commonwealth.