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Eddie Koiki Mabo Timeline

Accompanying website for the Eddie Koiki Mabo Timeline inside the Eddie Koiki Mabo Library, James Cook University

Acknowledgement of Country

Wadda Mooli

Wadda Mooli means welcome, greetings and goodbye in the Birri-Gubba language.

At James Cook University, we acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of this land are the Bindal people (who are part of the Birrigubba nation). They have been living on this land, where the Douglas, Townsville campus is situated, for thousands of generations.

The boundaries of Bindal land are the Ross River in the north, the Burdekin River in the south, the ocean to the east and where the Hervey and Leichhardt Ranges meet in the west.

We pay respect to their culture, and their Elders, past, present and emerging. We also acknowledge and pay respect to their direct neighbours to the north, the Gurambilbarra Wulgurukaba People.

The First Peoples of Australia settled this country at least 65 000 years ago. Their unique cultural and spiritual relationships to land and sea have remained to this day, despite many fracturing events.

As the last Ice Age ended, sea levels rose to cover the continental shelf and create the modern-day coastline. Australia’s First Peoples continued to live on and use the coast in the changing landscape, crossing the water to islands that had been part of the mainland. Throughout this time, hundreds of nations had emerged across Australia, and at the time of colonisation around 250 distinct languages were spoken. 

James Cook University acknowledges that the impact of colonisation, government policies, racial discrimination and prejudice, have had a major effect on the lives of Australia’s First Peoples. We are committed to working together to achieve genuine and sustainable reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the wider community.


Photographs related to Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned photographs on this website may contain images of deceased persons which may cause sadness or distress.

Eddie Koiki Mabo Library

Townsville library exterior Exterior view of the original Townsville Library building
© Image courtesy of JCU
Eddie Koiki Mabo Library 2020 The Eddie Koiki Mabo Library in the early morning light, February 2020
© Photography by Rob Parsons.

Architecture shapes people and places, and the Eddie Koiki Mabo Library has helped shape James Cook University (JCU). Designed by architect James Birrell, the Library is an outstanding example of 1960s Brutalist architecture.

The University campus acts as a natural amphitheatre and situated at its core the Library makes a powerful architectural statement. Moreover, the Library enriches the student experience at JCU, and is a vibrant and innovative environment for student scholarship.

Along with its own important history, the Library has a special connection to the story of Eddie Koiki Mabo. The iconic status of the building was cemented in Australia’s history in 2008, when it was officially named the Eddie Koiki Mabo Library by Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Sandra Harding AO and former Chancellor, Lt Gen Dr John Grey AC.

Drone view of library

Photograph by Rob Parsons

Eddie Koiki Mabo Library

Photograph by Rob Parsons

Eddie Koiki Mabo Library

Photograph by Rob Parsons

Photograph by Rob Parsons

Photograph by Rob Parsons

Photograph by Rob Parsons

Photograph by Rob Parsons

Library History and Awards

1968  Stage 1 of the Library is completed.
1976  Stage 2 of the Library is completed.
1990 The Library undergoes a major extension that integrates the old and new aspects of the space. The ‘wrap around’ design preserves the original features of the building, while the increase of 2000m2 allows for significant growth of collections and an enormous increase in user friendly spaces.
2006 The Library is awarded the 25-Year Architecture Award in 2006 by the Australian Institute of Architects – Queensland Chapter.
2008 The James Cook University Douglas campus library is named the Eddie Koiki Mabo Library
2010- 2017 A series of major redevelopments to the Library include three new entrances, a new café, the Information Commons, the award-winning Verandah Walk, and a series of modern, collaborative learning spaces. New outdoor seating is included in the redevelopment on both the NE and NW sides, giving students the opportunity to engage with the campus landscape 
2014 Eddie Koiki Mabo Library building is included in the places of cultural heritage value list by Townsville City Council.
2018 Eddie Koiki Mabo Library building is recognised as one of Australia's top ten iconic architectural sites by the University of Melbourne's top architectural experts.
2019 Eddie Koiki Mabo Library building is recognised as one of Australia's top ten concrete public architectural works by Cement Concrete and Aggregates Australia.
2020 As part of JCU's 50th anniversary projects the Mabo Interpretive Wall is installed on the ground floor of the Eddie Koiki Mabo Library.

We acknowledge the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first inhabitants of the nation and acknowledge Traditional Owners of the lands where our staff and students, live, learn and work.Acknowledgement of Country

Creative Commons Licence
Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) 4.0 International License. Content from this Guide should be attributed to James Cook University Library. This does not apply to images, third party material (seek permission from the original owner) or any logos or insignia belonging to JCU or other bodies, which remain All Rights Reserved.