Torres Strait Islander Flag
The Torres Strait Islander Flag symbolises the unity and identity of all Torres Strait Islanders.
The Torres Strait Islander Flag is attributed to the late Bernard Namok of Thursday Island, whose winning entry in a design competition run by the Island Coordinating Council (ICC), a Queensland Statutory Body representing the Community Councils in the Torres Strait, was adopted at its Council meeting on 24th March 1992.
It was officially recognised and presented to the people of Torres Strait on 29th May 1992 at the 6th Torres Strait Cultural Festival.
In the same year it was recognised by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) and given equal prominence with the Australian Aboriginal Flag.
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 Flags Act 1953. The flag was so proclaimed by the Governor General of Australia, William Hayden, on 14th July 1995.
The flag features three horizontal coloured stripes, with green at the top and bottom and blue in between – divided by thin black lines. A white Dhari (traditional headdress) sits in the centre, with a five-pointed white star beneath it.
The white Dhari (headdress) is a symbol of Torres Strait Islanders. The white five pointed star beneath it symbolises peace, the five major island groups and the navigational importance of stars to the seafaring people of the Torres Strait. The five island groups are:
- Northern Division (Boigu, Dauan, Saibai)
- Eastern Islands (Darnley, Murray, Stephen)
- Western Division (St Pauls, Kubin, Badu, Mabuiag)
- Central Division (Yorke, Coconut, Warraber, Yam)
- Southern Division (Thursday Island and Inner Islands, Northern Peninsula Area and Mainland Australia)
The green stripes represent the land, the black stripes represent the people, and the blue the sea.
The copyright of the Torres Strait Islander Flag is owned by the Torres Strait Island Regional Council, previously the Island Coordinating Council (ICC), and the 15 Island Communities that amalgamated to form the Torres Strait Island Regional Council (TSIRC).
The TSIRC gives permission for requests to reproduce the Torres Strait Islander Flag subject only under the following conditions:
- that, where appropriate, recognition is given to the original designer, the late Mr Bernard Namok;
- the original PMS colours are used; and
- that permission must be received in writing from the TSIRC, prior to its use.
To request permission to reproduce the Torres Strait Islander Flag, please contact us. Please allow 10 business days for your request to be processed.
Permission is not required to fly the Torres Strait Islander Flag, however, any questions on how and when to display the Torres Strait Islander 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