• Deborah Mailman takes time to remember Dr Bonita Mabo on the AACTA Awards Red Carpet. (AAP)Source: AAP
The actress played the late Indigenous rights activist in the TV film Mabo.
Brooke Fryer

6 Dec 2018 - 1:09 PM  UPDATED 6 Dec 2018 - 1:00 PM

Deborah Mailman, has paid tribute to Bonita Mabo, saying that playing the late Indigenous activist on screen was the highlight of her acting career.

Mrs Mabo, the wife of land rights campaigner Edward “Koiki” Mabo, died last week and has been honoured with a state funeral in Townsville.

The story about her husband's High Court challenge, which overthrew the concept of terra nullius, was brought to life six years ago in the feature-length TV film Mabo.

Ms Mailman said it was an honour to be able to tell the story of Mrs Mabo’s “incredible life”.

“To be given that opportunity to play such an incredible woman it's absolutely been the highlight of my career."

"To be in the story of hers and Koiki's story was phenomenal."

The actress said that she would remember Mrs Mabo’s generosity of spirit.

"She had a wicked sense of humour," Ms Mailman said.

"She had so much spunk, she had the best smile and it was really gorgeous to be her, play her."

'One of the greatest matriarchs’: Indigenous activist Bonita Mabo dies
She has been remembered as of the country's most influential advocates for Indigenous Australians and South Sea Islanders.