The Australian Aboriginal Flag

Form & Symbolism

Australian Aboriginal FlagThe Aboriginal flag is divided horizontally into halves. The top half is black and the lower half red. There is a yellow disk in the centre of the flag.

The meaning of the three colours in the flag, as stated by Harold Thomas, is:
Black - represents the Aboriginal people of Australia.
Red - represents the red earth, the red ochre used in ceremonies and Aboriginal people’s spiritual relation to the land.
Yellow disk - represents the Sun, the giver of life and protector.

History of the Flag

The Australian Aboriginal Flag was designed by artist Harold Thomas (a Luritja/Wompei) man and was first flown at Victoria Square in Adelaide, SA, on National Aborigines Day, 12 July 1971.
It became the official flag for the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra after it was first flown there in 1972.
Since then, it has become a widely recognised symbol of the unity and identity of Aboriginal people.

In view of the flag’s wide acceptance and importance in Australian society, the Commonwealth took steps in 1994 to give the flag legal recognition. After a period of public consultation, the Aboriginal flag was proclaimed a ‘Flag of Australia’ under section 5 of the Flags Act 1953 in July 1995.
In 1997 the Federal Court recognised Harold Thomas as the author of the flag. Copyright
The Australian Aboriginal Flag is protected under copyright and may be reproduced only in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright Act 1968 or with the permission of Harold Thomas. Contact details for Mr Thomas are:

  • Mr Harold Thomas
  • PO Box 41807
  • Casuarina NT 0810

Permission is not required to fly the Australian Aboriginal Flag.


The Aboriginal flag should be flown or displayed with the black at the top and the red at the bottom. Any questions on how and when to display the Australian Aboriginal Flag should be directed to:
  • Commonwealth Flag Officer
  • Awards and National Symbols
  • Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • 3-5 National Circuit
  • Barton ACT 2600
  • Telephone 02 6271 5629


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