Our Flags

The Aboriginal Flag

The Aboriginal flag was designed by Harold Thomas, a Luritja man from Central Australia. It was created as a symbol of unity and national identity for Aboriginal people during the land rights movement of the early 1970s. Gary Foley took the flag to the East Coast where it was promoted and eventually recognised as the official flag of the Australian Aboriginal people. The flag was first flown at Victoria Square in Adelaide on National Aborigines Day, 12 July 1971. The flag was chosen as the official flag for the Aboriginal Tent Embassy and was first flown there in 1972. In 1995, the Australian Government proclaimed the flag as an official 'Flag of Australia' under section 5 of the Flags Act 1953. In 1997, Harold Thomas was recognised as the author of the artistic work under the Copyright Act 1968.


The symbolic meaning of the flag colours (as stated by Mr Harold Thomas) are:

Black: Represents the Aboriginal people of Australia
Red: Represents the red earth, the red ochre and a spiritual relation to the land
Yellow: Represents the Sun, the giver of life and protector




The Zenadth Kes (Torres Strait) Islander Flag

The Zenadth Kes (Torres Strait) Islander flag was designed by the late Bernard Namok of Thursday Island as a symbol of unity and identity for Torres Strait Islanders. Adopted in 1992, it was the winning entry in a design competition run by the Island Coordinating Council, a Queensland statutory body representing the community councils in the Torres Strait.   In the same year it was recognised by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) and given equal prominence with the Australian Aboriginal Flag. In July 1995 the Australian Government recognised it as an official 'Flag of Australia' under the Flags Act 1953. The white dhari (head-dress) represents Torres Strait Islander people and the white five-pointed star represents the five island groups within the Torres Strait and the navigational importance of stars to these seafarers.



Green - represents the land
Black - represents the Indigenous peoples
Blue - represents the sea
White - represents peace