Guide to the Papers of Bryan Keon-Cohen

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MS 9518

National Library of Australia

Created: 2009

Collection Summary

Creator
Keon-Cohen, Bryan
Title
Papers of Bryan Keon-Cohen
Date Range
1981-2000 (bulk 1982-1994)
Collection Number
MS 9518
Extent
6.92 metres (12 boxes, 14 cartons + 4 folio boxes)
Language of Materials
English
Repository
National Library of Australia
Abstract
Mabo Litigation Records emanating from both the Supreme Court of Queensland and the High Court of Australia. They comprise a Statement of Facts by the Plaintiffs, wills, land transactions, court transcripts, exhibits, pleadings, applications, witness statements, submissions, correspondence, memoranda and research material.

Introduction

Scope and Contents

The Mabo Litigation Records arise from the litigation conducted in both the Supreme Court of Queensland and the High Court of Australia. They comprise a Statement of Facts by the Plaintiffs, wills, land transactions, court transcripts, exhibits, pleadings, applications, witness statements, submissions, correspondence, memoranda and research material. They have been arranged into volumes in broad chronological order. Many of the papers are in copy format, especially the research materials.

Other documents generated over the ten-year period of the litigation did not find their way into this set of materials. Pursuant to normal practice, the Judges' copies of exhibits were not released. A large quantity of other categories of material generated by various members of the Plaintiffs' team and the Defendants' team have not been included. Examples of such categories would have been cases, statutes and academic publications relevant to the Mabo Case, but readily available to the public.

In July 1996 the Library acquired some papers of Greg McIntyre. They were subsequently incorporated into the Keon-Cohen Papers. While the core group is in Volumes 64, 67 and 68, some McIntyre Papers may be found in other parts of the collection, for example Volume 8.

A detailed index of 246 pages, compiled by Bryan Keon-Cohen, is available on request. This index describes individual items in each numbered volume.

Conditions Governing Access

Access conditions may apply to this collection, please refer to the collection's catalogue record for further information (http://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn878792).

Conditions Governing Use

Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions. For such material, written permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s). Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.

Preferred Citation

Items from this collection should be as '[Title or description of manuscript item], Papers of Bryan Keon-Cohen, National Library of Australia, MS 9518, [series and volume/envelope number]'.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The bulk of the collection was donated to the National Library by Dr Bryan Keon-Cohen AM QC in 2000. Additional papers were donated by Greg McIntyre in 1996.

Papers of Eddie Koiki Mabo are held in the Manuscript Collection at MS 8822. The papers were acquired from Mabo's widow, Bonita, in 1995.

Arrangement

The majority of the papers were arranged by Bryan Keon-Cohen into volumes in broad chronological order. Papers of Greg McIntyre were incorporated into the arrangement by the Library (see Scope and Content note).

Historical Note

Eddie Koiki Mabo (1937-92) was born on Mer (Murray Island) in the Torres Strait. In 1982, he and four other Torres Strait Islanders began legal proceedings to establish their traditional ownership of their land. As he was the first named plaintiff in the action, it became known as the Mabo Case.

The Mabo litigation lasted ten years, from 1982 to 1992. In June 1992, six months after the death of Eddie Mabo, a landmark High Court ruling was declared. This gave legal recognition to the fact that indigenous land ownership existed before European settlement and that in some cases, this land tenure was not subsequently extinguished by the Crown. The ruling refuted the legal concept of terra nullius.

The five Murray Islander plaintiffs were: Eddie Koiki Mabo, Celuia Mapo Salee, James Rice, Sam Passi and his brother Father David Passi The lawyers who acted for the plaintiffs were Bryan Keon-Cohen, Ron Castan, Greg McIntyre and Barbara Hocking.

Dr Bryan Keon-Cohen AM QC is currently the Principal Legal Officer of the Mirimbiak Nations Aboriginal Corporation, Melbourne. He became a barrister of the Victorian Bar in September 1981. In January 1982 he was invited by Ron Castan, QC, to join the plaintiffs’ legal team in what was to become known as the Mabo Case. The team began by drafting a Statement of Claim issued in the High Court of Australia in May 1982.

Greg McIntyre, whose papers are incorporated into this collection, was initially a solicitor with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service in Cairns. Following this, he was the instructing solicitor in the Koowarta Case. He became the instructing solicitor and occasional counsel in the Mabo cases throughout 1982-92.

Biographical Reference(s)

The encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia. Canberra : Aboriginal Studies Press, 1994.

Keon-Cohen, Bryan. 'The Mabo litigation: a personal and procedural account', Melbourne University Law Review, Vol. 24, No. 3, December 2000, pp. 892-951. Photocopy held in MS 9518, Envelope 25.

Keon-Cohen, Bryan. A Mabo Memoir: Islan Kustom to Native Title. Victoria : Zemvic Press, 2013. Available from the author at www.bryankeoncohen.com.

Sharp, Nonie. No ordinary judgment. Canberra : Aboriginal Studies Press, 1996.

Mabo: life of an island man. Melbourne, Cinemedia (videorecording, Film Australia), 1997.

Item Descriptions

Series 1. Numbered volumes (covered by index), 1981-2000

Plaintiffs' statement of Facts (File Volume 1)

Annexure D. Murray Island Records - Land Cases (File Volume 2)

Annexure D. Murray Island records - Wills, Land Transactions, Miscellaneous (File Volume 3)

Plaintiffs' statements of Facts: Source Documents (File Volume 4)

Preliminary materials and early draft documents (File Volume 5)

Correspondence and memoranda between counsel and other interested parties, 1982-1991 (File Volume 6)

Killoran materials, 1982 (File Volume 7)

Greg McIntyre Affidavit and Exhibits, 1982 (File Volume 8)

Pleading and essential court documents, 1982-1987 (File Volume 9)

High Court Interlocutory Applications and Negotiations, 1982-1986 (File Volume 10)

Discovery, notices etc., 1985-1989 (File Volume 11)

Plaintiffs' witness statements (A): drafts and research notes (File Volume 12)

Plaintiffs' witness statements (B): drafts and research notes. Witnesses not used, 1986-1990 (File Volume 13)

Includes original hand-drawn maps and diagrams of various portions of land, boundary markers, etc. used in the Mabo case.

Collection of original hand-drawn maps/diagrams of various portions of land, boundary markers, etc. (Item 1x)

Plaintiffs' witness statements (C): drafts and background papers, 1986-1989 (File Volume 14)

Plaintiffs' witness statements (D): Kotaoji materials not handed up (File Volume 15)

Cases illustrating rules, Castan opening notes (File Volume 16)

E.K. Mabo evidence (File Volume 17)

(Formerly 8A) Trial of facts, Supreme Court of Queensland, 1986-1989 (File Volume 18)

(Formerly 8B) Trial of facts, Supreme Court of Queensland, 1986-1989 (File Volume 19)

(Formerly 8C) Trial of facts, Supreme Court of Queensland, 1986-1989 (File Volume 20)

Demurrer applications, 1987-1988 (File Volume 21)

Demurrer book, 1988 (File Volume 22)

Demurrer TS, and plaintiffs' supporting documents (File Volume 23)

Documents prepared and/or tendered by plaintiffs for demurrer hearing (File Volume 24)

Demurrer: plaintiffs' research materials etc. (File Volume 25)

Pleadings and essential court documents, 1989 (File Volume 26)

Directions hearings, trial and application to Toohey, J. Transcript and documents, 1988-1989 (File Volume 27)

Transcript, Supreme Court of Queensland, 1989 (File Volume 28)

Transcript, Supreme Court of Queensland, May 1989 (File Volume 29)

Transcript, Supreme Court of Queensland, June 1989 (File Volume 30)

Transcript, Supreme Court of Queensland, June 1989 (File Volume 31)

Transcript, Supreme Court of Queensland, June 1989 (File Volume 32)

Transcript, Supreme Court of Queensland, July 1989 (File Volume 33)

Transcript, Supreme Court of Queensland, July 1989 (File Volume 34)

Transcript, Supreme Court of Queensland, July-August 1989 (File Volume 35)

Plaintiffs' final submissions, Supreme Court, Volume 1 (File Volume 36)

Queensland final submissions, Supreme Court, Volume 1 (File Volume 37)

Queensland final submissions, Supreme Court, Volume 2, 3 (File Volume 38)

Trial exhibits Nos 5-6 (File Volume 39)

Trial exhibits Nos 7-28 (File Volume 40)

Trial exhibit No.29 (File Volume 41)

Trial exhibit Nos 30-78 (File Volume 42)

Trial exhibit No. 79 (Index volume of 42 volumes of source documents) (File Volume 43)

Trial exhibits Nos 80-150 (File Volume 44)

Trial exhibits Nos 151-213 (File Volume 45)

Trial exhibits Nos 214-221 (File Volume 46)

Trial exhibits Nos 222, 233, 238-242, 244-252 (File Volume 47)

Trial exhibits Nos 234-237 (File Volume 48)

Trial exhibit No. 243 (File Volume 49)

Trial exhibits Nos 253-277 (File Volume 50)

Trial exhibits Nos 278-279 (File Volume 51)

Trial exhibit No. 279 (File Volume 52)

Trial exhibit No.279 (File Volume 53)

Trial exhibit No. 280 (File Volume 54)

Trial exhibits Nos 281-283 (File Volume 55)

Trial exhibit No. 284 (File Volume 56)

Trial exhibit No. 284 (File Volume 57)

Trial exhibit No. 284 (File Volume 58)

Trial exhibit No. 284 (File Volume 59)

Trial exhibit Nos 285-292 (File Volume 60)

Trial exhibits Nos 293-313 (File Volume 61)

Determination of Facts: Moynihan, J, Queensland Supreme Court, 16 November 1990 (three volumes) (File Volume 62)

Plaintiffs' written submissions to High Court, April 1991 (6 volumes) (File Volume 63)

Transcript High Court Hearing, 28-31 May 1991 (File Volume 64)

Correspondence, 1983-1989 (File Volume 65)

Correspondence with defendants, 1983-1989 (File Envelope 1)
Correspondence with defendants, 1984-1987 (File Envelope 2)
Correspondence with defendants, 1988-1989 (File Envelope 3)

Correspondence, 1983-1984 (File Volume 66)

Correspondence with defendants, 1983-1984 (File Envelope 4)

Housed in 3 folders.

Correspondence, 1983-1989 (File Volume 67)

Correspondence with defendants, 1983-1989 (File Envelope 5)

Housed in 2 folders.

Correspondence with town agents, all years (File Envelope 6A)
Correspondence with Counsel, 1983-1988 (File Envelope 6B)

Correspondence, miscellaneous, 1985-1991 (File Volume 68)

Correspondence with Counsel, 1987-1989 (File Envelope 7)
Correspondence with defendants, 1989 (File Envelope 8)
Parliamentary questions, ALP lawyers and GDC, 1989 (File Envelope 9)
Correspondence, Legal Aid etc., 1988-1991 (File Envelope 10)
Correspondence, 1991 (File Envelope 11)

Miscellaneous documents (File Volume 69)

Miscellaneous documents, 1990-1992 (File Envelope 12)
Miscellaneous documents, 1986-1992 (File Envelopes 13A-13E)

Housed in 3 folders.

Comprises: Envelope 13A Post High Court appeal decision congratulations, 1992; Envelope 13B Miscellaneous documents, 1991; Envelope 13C Miscellaneous documents, 1990; Envelope 13D Miscellaneous documents, 1988; Envelope 13E Court documents, correspondence, 1986.

Correspondence, 1995 (File Envelope 14)

Research materials (File Volume 70)

Research (File Envelope 15)

Housed in 2 folders.

Research - James Cook University (File Envelope 16)

Summary of court proceedings (File Volume 71)

Summary of court proceedings by plaintiffs (File Envelope 17)

Housed in 2 folders.

Correspondence and copy exhibits (File Volume 72)

Correspondence, 1985-1988 (File Envelope 18A)
Media (File Envelope 18B)
General correspondence, Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Attorney-General (File Envelope 18C)
Correspondence, 1981-1983 (File Envelope 19)
Exhibits (File Envelope 20)

Miscellaneous documents (File Volume 73)

Research workers (File Envelope 21)

Housed in 2 folders.

Mabo research notes - Brear (File Envelope 22)
Correspondence - Yarra Bank Films, 1990 (File Envelope 23)
Correspondence, miscellaneous (File Envelope 24)

Additional material (not covered by index) (File Volume [unnumbered])

Copy of article by Bryan Keon-Cohen, 2000 (File Envelope 25)

The article is entitled 'The Mabo Litigation; a personal and procedural account'. Published in the Melbourne University Law Review, Volume 24, no. 3, December 2000, pages 893-951. Also posted on the Melbourne University Law Review web page.

Series 2. Numbered volumes with P prefix (not covered by index)

Volumes P1-P4 (File Box 20)

Volume P6-9, P13 (File Box 21) - box 21

Series 3. Duplicates (not covered by index)

Duplicates, 1982 (File Box 22) - box 22

Duplicates, 1982-1987 (File Box 23) - box 23

Duplicates, various dates, 1988-1989 (File Box 24) - box 24

Duplicates, various dates, 1990-1994 (File Box 25) - box 25

Copies of research material (File Box 26) - box 26

Series 4. Assorted over-sized volumes (not covered by Index)

No title (File Volume 1)

No title (File Volume 2)

No title (File Volume 3)

Kindergarten purchase from Grobida Mabo, 1967 (File Volume 6)

Kindergarten purchase from Grobida Mabo, 1967 (File Volume 7)

Report of Torres Strait Islands Advisory Council, 1981 (File Volume 8)

No title (File Volume 9)

Research (File Volume M12)

By-laws (File Volume [unnumbered])

Container List

Series Volume Box/Folio
1 1 - 4 1
1 5 - 8 2
1 9 - 12 3
1 13 - 17 4
1 18 - 22 5
1 23 - 26 6
1 27 - 30 7
1 31 - 34 8
1 35 - 37 9
1 38 - 42 10
1 43 - 46 11
1 47 - 48 12
1 49 Folio Box 1
1 50 - 51 12
1 52 - 54 13
1 55 - 58 14
1 59 - 62 15
1 63 - 67 16
1 68 17
1 69 17 - 18
1 70 - 71 18
1 72 18 - 19
1 73 19
1 Envelope 25 19
2 P1 - P4 20
2 P6 - P9, P13 21
3 1982 22
3 1982, 1984-1987 23
3 1988-1989, various 24
3 1990-1994 25
3 Research material 26
4 1 Folio Box 1
4 2 - 3, 6 Folio Box 2
4 7 - 8 Folio Box 3
4 9, M12, unnumbered vol. Folio Box 4

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