High Court, Mabo Decision

June 3. High Court, Mabo Decision. The High Court of Australia changes the nation’s common law when it brought down its decision in Mabo and Others v the State of Queensland. In upholding the claims of the plaintiffs, from Murray Island in the Torres Strait, the Court held that Australia was not terra nullius (‘land belonging to no one’) when settled by the British in 1788, but occupied by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, who had their own laws and customs, and whose ‘native title’ to land survived the Crown’s annexation of Australia.