The Aboriginal flag

The Aboriginal flag is divided horizontally into equal halves of black (top) and red (bottom), with a yellow circle in the centre. The black symbolises Aboriginal people and the yellow represents the sun, the constant renewer of life. Red depicts the earth and also represents ochre, which is used by Aboriginal people in ceremonies. Designed by Harold Thomas, the flag was first flown at Victoria Square in Adelaide on National Aborigines’ Day on 12 July 1971. It was used later at the Tent Embassy in Canberra in 1972 as a symbol of unity and solidarity. Today the flag has been adopted by all Aboriginal groups and is flown or displayed permanently at Aboriginal centres throughout Australia.

The Torres Strait Islander flag

The Torres Strait Islander flag stands for the unity and identity of all Torres Strait Islanders. Designed by the late Bernard Namok, it features three horizontal coloured stripes, with green at the top and bottom and blue in between, divided by thin black lines. A white dhari (traditional TSI headdress) sits in the centre, with a five-pointed white star underneath it. The colour green is for the land, and the dhari is a symbol of all Torres Strait Islanders. The black represents the people and the blue is for the sea. The five-pointed star represents the island groups. Used in navigation, the star is also an important symbol for the seafaring Torres Strait Islander people. The colour white of the star represents peace.

Based on material kindly provided by Office of Public Affairs, ATSIC.