Mabo: Life of An Island Man - Eddie's burial on Mer

Mabo: Life of An Island Man - Eddie's burial on Mer
Mabo Family, Trevor Graham and Yarra Bank Films
WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that the following program may contain images and/or audio of deceased persons
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After the desecration of Eddie Mabo's grave in Townsville his family decide to take his body to Mer and bury him there.

Mabo's son Eddie Junior says, 'The ten-year battle over the land claim was for this place. It was for this. Now the significance of the place we're going to bury him is that his ancestors are not far from his final resting place.'

Men in traditional costume carry the coffin to the final resting place. 

In voice-over Trevor Graham says, 'I found I had mixed feelings. There was a sense of rightness about Koiki coming home to Mer, but his family had to bring him here for all the wrong reasons. I remember him saying that he hoped the Mabo case would help unite Australia and not divide it.'

Sitting next to Eddie's grave, Bonita Mabo admits that 'The hardest part for me now is to go back to Townsville and sort of leave him up here. But then again I suppose I've got no choice do I? But I do feel a lot at ease to know he's here.'

This is an excerpt from Mabo: Life of An Island Man, 1997, Film Australia Collection © NFSA. Buy a copy at the NFSA shop.

Notes by Beth Taylor