The Aboriginal flag was designed in 1970 by Luritja man, Uncle Harold Thomas.

The flags design is a rectangle that is split horizontally with the upper half black and the lower half red. In the centre sits a yellow circle.

The flag was publicly flown for the first time on the 12th July 1971 (National Aborigines Day) in Victoria Square, Adelaide. The following year Uncle Gary Foley brought the flag with him to the east coast where it was chosen as the official flag by the Aboriginal Embassy in Canberra.

In 1995 the Aboriginal Flag was officially recognised to be a 'Flag of Australia' under the Flags Act 1953 along with the Torres Strait Flag.

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  • Black - Aboriginal people
  • Red - the earth (red ochre)
  • Yellow - the sun



In 1997 the Federal Court of Australia officially recognised Uncle Harold Thomas as the creator of Aboriginal flag. This meant that the flag was now protected under the Copyright Act 1968 and could only be reproduced with permission from Uncle Harold Thomas.

In November of 2018 Uncle Harold Thomas signed ‘exclusive license and agency agreement’ for the flag to be reproduced on clothing to WAM Clothing. Following this many Aboriginal organisations were sent cease and desist letters to prevent them from freely using the flag.

As a result of this the #FreeTheFlag campaign began, led by Laura Thompson at Clothing the Gaps. The aim of this movement is to free the flag from its current licensing agreement and for the flag to be treated like other national flags in the world among other things. 

You can read more about the #FreeTheFlag movement on Clothing the Gaps!

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices or names of deceased persons in photographs, film, audio recordings or printed material. To listen to our Acknowledgement of Country, click here.