Mabo is a telemovie that chronicles Torres Strait Islander Eddie Mabo’s ten-year battle with the High Court to overturn the concept of terra nullius and recognise native title in Australia.

At the heart of the struggle is the tender love story of Mabo and his wife, Bonita, the woman he met as a teenager, loved for 30 years and with whom he raised 10 children. It tells of the deep love and partnership that sustained their fight to change the face of Australia forever.

Eddie Mabo’s campaign for Indigenous land rights was sparked by his discovery that he was not legally recognised as the owner of the Murray Island land, despite it having been passed down to him over 15 generations. His fight for legal acceptance of Indigenous land ownership came at a great personal cost to him and his family.

In typical Australian skewed fashion, we know more about the Kennedys, Martin Luther King jnr and Wallis Simpson than we do about Eddie Mabo.

This is an iconic story in the tradition of great Australian tales – how a man and his wife and mates profoundly changed the nation. — Rachel Perkins, director



Jimi Bani - Eddie Mabo
Deborah Mailman - Bonita Mabo
Colin Friels
William McInnes
Miranda Otto
Ewen Leslie
Tom Budge
Release dates
2012 - Australia
G - general
Blackfella Films and ABC TV

Mabo was filmed on Murray Island and in Townsville, Brisbane and Canberra.

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Harvard citation

Korff, J 2018, Mabo, <>, retrieved 11 July 2020

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