• Bonita Mabo has been remembered as one of Australia's greatest advocates for Indigenous Australians and South Sea Islanders. (The Australian South Sea Islander Alliance)
She has been remembered as of the country's most influential advocates for Indigenous Australians and South Sea Islanders.
By
NITV Staff Writer

Source:
NITV News
26 Nov 2018 - 5:30 PM  UPDATED 26 Nov 2018 - 5:30 PM

Bonita Mabo, the Indigenous rights activist and widow of Edward “Koiki” Mabo, has died aged 75 years.

Mrs Mabo was known for her advocacy work for Indigenous schooling and her campaigning for the rights of Indigenous Australians and Australian South Sea Islanders, and worked alongside her husband's side throughout his struggle for land rights.

Her daughter Gail Mabo confirmed the death but did not specify the cause.

"She always considered others before herself," she told NITV.

"She will be surely missed by all those who knew her."

The landmark legal decision known universally as “Mabo” was handed down by the High Court of Australia in 1992 and overturned Terra Nullius – the concept that was used to systematically deprive Indigenous people of their land.

The Australian South Sea Islander Alliance described their honorary patron’s commitment to social justice and human rights as “monumental and relentless”.

“A formidable 'Woman Tanna' Aunty Bonita will be greatly missed as Australia has lost one of the greatest matriarchs of all time," the organisation said in a statement.

Last week, Mrs Mabo was recognised by James Cook University with an honorary doctorate.

The university noted her 45 years of campaigning for Indigenous Australians and South Sea Islanders.

She co-founded the Black Community School in Townsville, the country's first Indigenous community school.

Mrs Mabo also served 10 years on the Central Queensland Land Council while she was helping her late husband with the historic court cages.

“We can all take inspiration from Bonita’s courage and determination,” university chancellor Bill Tweddell said.

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WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should exercise caution when viewing this article as it contains names and images of deceased persons, which may cause distress to members of these communities.