Daily Archives: June 4, 2012

Judge Willis and Mabo

Australia is celebrating this week the twentieth anniversary of the Mabo decision that rejected the doctrine of terra nullius and recognized native title. The ‘Mabo Case’ findings did not mention Judge Willis by name, but it would have been entirely appropriate to have done so because in many ways, he anticipated Mabo by 151 years in a case called R. v Bonjon.  However, for a number of different reasons, the Bonjon case remains a mere footnote in history.

In 2010 I gave a paper at the Australian and New Zealand Law and History Conference about the Bonjon case, and you can read it here.