The Torres Strait Islander Flag

The Torres Strait Islander flag is a symbol of unity and identity for the Torres Strait Islander people.  It illustrates the deep connections they have with the sea, islands and sky of the Torres Strait.

The flag has two green horizontal bands, and one blue band. These  are separated by black lines. In the middle of the  flag is a Dhari (a ceremonial headdress), and a five-pointed star.

Each feature of the flag is significant to Torres Strait Islander culture.

Green 

The two green sections represent the mainlands of Papua New Guinea and Australia.

Black

The black lines represent the people of the Torres Strait.

Blue

The blue between these two continents is the blue of the waters surrounding the Torres Strait Islands.

White symbol  

This is a  Dhari, or headdress. Dhari is the Meriam (Mer) word for 'headdress' and is predominantly used in the eastern islands. In the central and western islands, the headdress is called a Dhoeri. The headdress is worn and made by males, and their designs will change from island to island. The white colour symbolises peace. 

Five-pointed star

The five-pointed star represents the five major island groups of the Torres Strait and their ties to navigation by sea.

Torres Strait Islander flag

The flag was chosen from over 100 entries in a design competition, organised in January 1992 by The Islands Coordinating Council. The flag was designed by the late Bernard Namok from Thursday Island.

It wasn't until July 1995 that the Torres Strait Islander flag was recognised by the Australian Government as an official 'Flag of Australia' through the Flags Act 1953.

Although you don't need permission to fly the Torres Strait Islander flag, you must get permission to reproduce it for commercial purposes.


 

Top image: Bernard Namok Jnr is the Presenter, CoWriter and CoProducer of new film Carry The Flag (NITV News).
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