Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, has paid tribute to the prominent Indigenous rights activist Dr Mabo, who passed away yesterday.
“Many know Dr Mabo as the wife of Eddie Mabo, an Australian hero known for his long fight for Indigenous land rights,” Minister Scullion said.
“But Dr Mabo was more than a supportive partner, she was an educator and an advocate who co-founded the first Aboriginal community school in the early 1970s in Townsville because she was unhappy with the education her 10 children were receiving.
“As an Australian South Sea Islander woman, she spent decades seeking greater recognition and understanding of the history of her people; of the suffering and pain inflicted on them.
“I am honoured to have had a friendship with Dr Mabo and her children, I know that when she travelled and talked, people listened —they were captivated by the strength of her character and the depths of her integrity.
“Dr Mabo’s tireless efforts saw her named an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia in 2013. And, only a few days ago, she received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from James Cook University. It recognised forty-five years of outstanding contributions to the community.
“Dr Mabo’s wisdom and her generous, open heart will be missed. She was widely loved, admired and respected and her legacy will remain strong.
“Dr Mabo stood as a strong and passionate leader for her family and for all women. Because of her, many can. She was a matriarch of all time”.
“My thoughts are with Dr Mabo’s family and with the community as we mourn the loss of this incredible woman,” Minister Scullion said.