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Aboriginal flag
Title : Aboriginal flag Aboriginal flag
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Source : 20 years commemoration of the Aboriginal flag 1971-1991
Place Of Creation : S.l.
Publisher : s.n.
Date of creation : 1991
Format : Poster
Dimensions : 650 x 470 mm
Catalogue record
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Copyright : This item is reproduced courtesy of Harold Thomas. It may be printed or saved for research or study. Use for any other purpose requires written permission from Harold Thomas and the State Library of South Australia. To request approval, complete the Permission to publish form.
Description :

The Aboriginal flag was designed in 1971 by artist Harold Thomas, a Luritja man from Central Australia. The flag was created as a symbol of national identity and unity for Aboriginal people. In the early 1970s, protest marches and demonstrations for indigenous land rights increased, often with many non-indigenous people taking part, raising their own banners and placards.

Harold Thomas determined that Aboriginal peoples themselves needed to have more recognition and distinction as a group, towards which he designed the Aboriginal flag. The colours selected have particular symbolic significance, as recorded on the poster:

the black represents the Aboriginal people, past, present, & future; the yellow represents the sun, the giver of life; the red represents the earth, red ochre, and our spiritual relationship to the land.

The Aboriginal flag was first flown in Victoria Square in Adelaide on National Aborigines Day on 12 July 1971. In 1972 it was flown at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy outside of the old Parliament House in Canberra, and Aboriginal people adopted it nationally. In July 1995 the Commonwealth Government proclaimed the flag to be the official flag of the Australian Aboriginal people.

In 1997 Harold Thomas was formally recognised as the artistic creator of the flag under the Copyright Act 1968. Previously, Thomas had won a scholarship to the South Australian School of Art, and became the first Aboriginal to graduate from an Australian Art School. He has an Honorary Degree in Social Australian Anthropology from Adelaide University. Harold Thomas continues to work as an artist, and has works on display in several Australian galleries.

Period : 1946-1979
Further reading :

The Aboriginal flag and Victoria Square/Tarndanyangga: an important historical connection [Adelaide]: Adelaide City Council, [2002]

Australian flags / [Awards and Culture Branch, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet] Barton ACT: Dept. of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, 2006. 3rd ed

The Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, society and cultureDavid Horton, general editor. Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press for the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, 1994

Internet links :

AusFlag: Our own flagsee: Aboriginal Flag

National NAIDOCsee: Flags: Australian Aboriginal flag



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