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Unveiling the Aboriginal Flag: A Tapestry of Identity and Unity

The Aboriginal Flag stands as a powerful symbol of identity, culture and unity for First Nations people. Officially created by Harold Thomas in 1971 — this iconic flag has become an emblematic representation of the Aboriginal community’s resilience and history. Read onwards as we delve into the fascinating facts surrounding the Aboriginal Flag — exploring the history, symbolism and significance in the rich tapestry of Aboriginal cultural heritage.

Creator and Origin:

The Aboriginal Flag was designed by Harold Thomas — a renowned artist and Luritja man from Central Australia. Thomas created the flag in 1971 as a symbol of Aboriginal identity and activism during a period of significant social and political change for First Nations people. The flag was first raised publicly in Victoria Square, Adelaide, on National Indigenous Peoples Day on July 12, 1971.

Colours and Symbolism:

The flag consists of three main elements, a horizontal stripe of black at the top, a horizontal stripe of red in the centre and a horizontal stripe of yellow at the bottom. Nestled with profound and intricate symbolism — black represents the Aboriginal people, red symbolises the earth and the ochre used in ceremonies and the yellow represents the sun, the giver of life.

Recognition and Official Status:

Despite such cultural significance and widespread use — the Aboriginal Flag has faced hindrance in achieving official recognition. In recent years, there has been an ongoing campaign to recognise the flag as an official national symbol. In July 2021, the Australian federal government reached an agreement with Harold Thomas to secure the copyright of the flag and ensure its free and fair use. This marked a historic step toward acknowledging the flag’s importance in the national narrative.

International Recognition:

The Aboriginal Flag has transcended national borders, gaining recognition as a symbol of Indigenous rights and identity beyond Australia. It has been used globally in protests, cultural events and Indigenous rights movements — fostering a sense of solidarity among Indigenous peoples worldwide.

Cultural Ceremonies and Significance:

The Aboriginal Flag is an integral part of cultural ceremonies and gatherings within Indigenous communities. It is often used during important events, dances, and festivals, symbolising a connection to land, heritage and spirituality. The flag serves as a unifying symbol, fostering a sense of pride and belonging among First Nations people.

As the Aboriginal Flag continues to ripple across the Australian landscape — it stands as a testament to the resilience, heritage, and pride of First Nations people. The flag’s journey —  from its creation by Harold Thomas to its current status as a symbol of national significance, reflects the ongoing quest for recognition, respect, and reconciliation in Australia. Embraced by communities and celebrated on a global scale — the Aboriginal Flag is a living symbol of cultural strength and unity, weaving its vibrant threads into the diverse fabric of Australia’s identity.

To learn more about incorporating Aboriginal Culture and Education into your school or workplace in 2024, please contact our head office at or (02) 47 300 400.

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111 Henry Street, Penrith NSW 2750
(02) 47 300 400