Harold Thomas – the man behind the Aboriginal flag

Luritja Man.  Artist.  Designer of the Aboriginal flag.

Harold Thomas is a Luritja man from the Central Desert region of Australia’s Northern Territory, and currently resides in Darwin.

Aboriginal flag designed by Harold Thomas

 Harold Joseph Thomas was born c. 1947 and is an Indigenous Australian descended from the Luritja people of Central Australia Harold was taken from his family and placed at St John’s Hostel.

When Harold has eleven he was sent to South Australia’s St.Frances House, an Anglican institution for Aboriginal boys. Shortly after this Harold was fostered to a white family. At school he exceeded in sports and this is where his interest began in painting.
After high school Harold won a scholarship to study at the South Australia School of Art and later studied social anthropology at the University of Adelaide. During his studies Harold also became actively involved in Aboriginal Civil Rights movement and designed the Aboriginal Flag in 1971.

The Aboriginal flag was designed as a symbol of the Indigenous land rights movement.

In 1995 the flag was made an official “flag of Australia”.

Later he was involved in a high-profile Federal and High Court cases to assert copyright over his design, which he won and rightfully so. The flag remain still today a strong and unifying symbol for Aboriginal rights and justice.

Extract from Harold Thomas biography: http://www.aboriginalartstore.com.au/artists/harold-thomas.php


Did you know..

  • Harold Thomas was the first Aboriginal man to be employed in a museum in Australia
  • He holds a Diploma in Fine Arts
  • The flag was first flown at Victoria Square in Adelaide on National Aboriginies day July 12th 1971, it was used later at the Tent Embassy in Canberra in 1972

Harold’s beautiful oil and watercolour paintings can be purchased in a number of art galleries. Click here to view a slideshow of some of his artwork, sourced from the Aboriginal Art Co-op Gallery




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