Indigenous Flags of Australia

Aboriginal Flag

Artist Harold Thomas, a Luritja man from central Australia, designed the Aboriginal flag symbolising race and identity. It was first flown in 1971 on National Aboriginal and Islander Day in Adelaide, South Australia.

The black stripe represents the Aboriginal people, past, present and future. The red stripe represents the earth, and their spiritual connection to the land. It also represents the earth pigment ochre, used in Aboriginal ceremonies. The circle of yellow represents the sun which is the source of life.

Torres Strait Islander Flag

This flag was designed by the late Bernard Namok of Thursday Island and was launched in 1992. The flag symbolises the unity and identity of the Torres Strait Islander people. The green stripes represent the land, the blue represents the waters of the Torres Strait and the black stripes represent the people.

A white dharri (a traditional head-dress) and a five-pointed white star symbolise the island groups: eastern, western, central, Port Kennedy area and the Northern Peninsula area. The star is an important symbol for navigating the sea and symbolises the peace of the people.

Images from Wikipedia

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About the author

Rebecca Kinsella
After two years overseas discovering Irish family and foreign cultures, Rebecca has recently returned home to Melbourne. She was inspired to share Australian culture after getting exposure to how others live through her travels.
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  • Nice information, thanks for sharing this Rebecca. Does the Australian flag derive any of its characteristics from these flags?

  • I just had to look up Torres Strait, so please excuse my ignorance… Are the Torres Strait islands fully part of Australia? From what I read, culturally they are quite different. Is that right? It’s a very distinctive flag.

  • Are these flags flown anywhere in Australia to honor the Aboriginal people?

  • wow, so many questions..i’ll do my best here, but to be honest I’m learning things about Australia’s indigenous people all the time.

    Arwa- the Australian flag was produced first and sadly doesn’t derive any features from these flags as it features the Union Jack as a symbol of British settlement.

    Liz – from what i’ve read, they identify as being culturally ‘Australian’ but new guinea has some governing rights over the islands. i think.

    Dave – The Australian Aboriginal Flag is displayed at Aboriginal centres and alongside the Torres Strait Islander flag during NAIDOC Week. This week aims to celebrate and promote a greater understanding of Indigenous peoples and their culture. It’s also flown during National Reconciliation Week.

    Personally, i think it should be flown everywhere the Australian flag is, or be incorporated into a new flag.

    Look out for future posts on Australia’s indigenous people!

  • Very interesting! Seems indigenous flags tends to symbolise a close connection to nature – and have bright colours. The flag of the Sami people (in the Nordic countries) is in many ways similar to the Aboriginal flag: bright colours, a circle symbolising the sun and the moon –