The Aboriginal flag was adopted 14 July, 1995 and has been in use since 12 July 1971.
The Aboriginal Flag of Australia was designed by Harold Thomas, an Aboriginal artist in 1971. The flag was designed to be an eye-catching rallying symbol for the Aboriginal people and a symbol of their race and identity. The black represents the Aboriginal people, the red earth and their spiritual relationship to the land, and the yellow the sun, the giver of life.
In the late 1960's Aborigines stepped up their campaign for Indigenous land rights through protest marches, demonstrations, banners and posters. The protests increased in the early 1970s and Harold Thomas noticed they were often outnumbered by non-Aborigines with their own banners and placards. He decided they needed to be more visible and the idea of the flag was born.
The Aboriginal flag was first raised in Victoria Square in Adelaide on National Aboriginal Day in 1971, but was adopted nationally by Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders in 1972 after it was flown above the Aboriginal "Tent Embassy" outside of the old Parliament House in Canberra.
In view of its increasing importance in Australian society, the Government initiated steps in 1994 to give the flag legal recognition. After a period of public consultation, the Government made its own decision in July 1995 that the flag should be proclaimed a "Flag of Australia" under section 5 of the Flags Act 1953. The flag was so proclaimed by the Governer General of Australia, William Hayden, on 14 July 1995.
Torres Strait Islander Flag
This Torres Strait Islander flag was adopted 14 July 1995, and has been in use since 29 May 1995.
The Torres Strait Islander flag is attributed to the late Bernard Namok of Thursday Island. The flag is emblazoned with a white Dari (head-dress) which is a symbol for Torres Strait Islanders. The white five pointed star beneath symbolises the five major island groups and the navigational importance of stars to the seafaring people.
The green stripes represent the land, the black stripes represent the people, and the blue the sea. The flag as a whole symbolises the unity of all Torres Strait Islanders.
The Federal Government initiated steps in 1994 to give the flag legal recognition. After a period of public consultation, the Government decided in July 1995 that the flag should be proclaimed a "Flag of Australia" under section 5 of the Flag Act 1953. The flag was so proclaimed by the Government General of Australia, William Hayden, on 14 July 1995.