The family of the late Dr Bonita Mabo AO has accepted the Queensland Government’s offer of a State funeral for the prominent activist, with a service to be held in Townsville next month.
Dr Mabo will be remembered as a matriarch of reconciliation and native title, working alongside her husband, Edward Koiki Mabo, for the recognition of Indigenous land rights in Australia.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she has extended her condolences to Dr Mabo’s family, friends and the broader Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
“It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing of Bonita Mabo – a proud Malanbarra woman and a tireless advocate for Indigenous education and land rights,” the Premier said.
“One of the most prominent Indigenous women in Australian history, Dr Mabo empowered countless Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to speak from the heart and stand up for what they believe in.”
Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Jackie Trad said Dr Mabo would be fondly remembered as an Elder, an educator and an activist.
“Dr Mabo was passionate about education and decades before the landmark native title fight which made her a household name, she established Australia’s first Aboriginal community school in Townsville,” Ms Trad said.
“In her later years, Dr Mabo fought on behalf of the South Sea Islander community, sharing their history and advocating for their right to be recognised.
“Just last week she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from James Cook University, recognising her contribution to social justice and human rights.
“This State funeral will be an opportunity for everyone in our community to pay tribute to Dr Mabo, reflecting on her outstanding life and legacy.”
More details of next month’s State funeral will be released in coming days.