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2019 Mabo Oration

Celebrating and paying tribute to Eddie Mabo and the landmark High Court decision

1hour 30min watch

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this page may contain images, voices or names of deceased persons in photographs, film, audio recordings or printed material.

The Mabo Oration is a biennial event presented by the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland and QPAC. It celebrates and pays tribute to Eddie Mabo and the landmark High Court decision which legally recognised that Indigenous people had a special relationship to the land that existed prior to colonisation.

In 2019 the Oration featured Gamilaroi man and founder of @IndigenousX Luke Pearson as Orator and Torres Strait Islander woman Rhianna Patrick and ABC Radio presenter as Host.

Eddie Mabo challenged the status quo. His voice and actions created generational change. In the early 1980s, at a time when Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities were just emerging from the shadows of Queensland’s protectionist and assimilationist policies, Eddie Mabo had the courage to imagine a different future in which he would be recognised as the true owner of his ancestral lands and waters of Mer Island. Ten years later Eddie’s vision and determination was rewarded by the landmark High Court ruling overturning legal precedent, and finally dispatching the doctrine of terra nullius.

The ADCQ and QPAC are immensely proud to continue our association with the Mabo family through The Mabo Oration Series. We hope that the series provides a powerful platform for the next Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices of change.

Read the transcript here


Luke PearsonOrator: Luke Pearson

Founder & CEO
Luke Pearson is a Gamilaroi man, who founded @IndigenousX in 2012. Luke has worked as a teacher, mentor, counsellor, public speaker, collaborator, mediator, facilitator, events manager, researcher, evaluator, reporter and much more. Luke's passion for IndigenousX stems from his belief in the need to improve Indigenous media representation in Australia and to have a platform for individuals to tell their own stories in their own words.


Rhianna Patrick

Host: Rhianna Patrick

Rhianna Patrick is Torres Strait Islander woman with 20+ years as a media professional. She's worked across Indigenous media, radio, television documentaries and news. Rhianna currently presents a Sunday night programme on ABC Radio, which is broadcast nationally out of Brisbane.




2 Za CrowdPerforming Artist: 2 Za Crowd

2 Za Crowd combine unique song selection with faultless vocal harmonies providing the quintessential entertainment experience for a diverse audience. The experienced Indigenous performers deliver their innovative interpretations of classic hits, memories and current bangers in almost every genre. From rock, soul, folk, reggae, country, pop jazz, world and R&B, all personal tastes are accounted for as no musical stone is left unturned. If you’re ready to relax and chill, singalong and engage or dance and party, 2 Za Crowd are ready for you. 



The Ancient Bloods

Performing Artist: The Ancient Bloods

The Ancient Bloods are an interchanging band that delivers music projects as part of Digi Youth Arts mentoring platform for Indigenous young people. In 2018, they released their first album Golden Veins as part of the critically acclaimed unsettle project run by Digi Youth Arts at the Queensland Museum. Currently, the second iteration of The Ancient Bloods are working on new music in response to country and place in Brisbane. With each project, The Ancient Bloods will deliver a recorded work adding to an anthology that responds to political issues, cultural heritage and identity.

The Mabo Oration 2019 was presented by Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland and Queensland Performing Arts Centre on Monday 3 June 2019.

Photo of Eddie Mabo: Jim McEwan

QPAC First Nations

Acknowledgement of Traditional Custodians

We pay our respects to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ancestors of this land, their spirits and their legacy. The foundations laid by these ancestors – our First Nations Peoples – gives strength, inspiration and courage to current and future generations, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, towards creating a better Queensland.