Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flag
The Aboriginal flag
The Aboriginal flag was recognized under Federal legislation, as was the Torres Strait Islands flag, in July 1995. The Aboriginal flag was first displayed on 12 July 1971, National Aborigines' Day at Victoria Square in Adelaide. It was also used at the 'Tent Embassy' in Canberra in 1972.
Designed by Aboriginal Elder Harold Thomas in 1971, this flag symbolizes Aboriginal identity. Yellow represents the sun (giver of life) and yellow ochre. Red represents the red earth (the relationship to the land) and the red ochre used in ceremonies. Black represents the Aboriginal people.
The flag is flown or displayed permanently at Aboriginal centres throughout Australia. It is popularly recognized as the flag of the Aboriginal peoples of Australia and should only be flown by other Australians when permission has been granted.
Torres Strait Islands flag
The flag, designed by Islander Mr Bernard Namok, was adopted in 1992. Green represents the islands, blue the sea and black the local Melanesian people. A stylized dancer's head-dress known as a DARI, and a five pointed star appear on the flag. The star alludes to the five main island zones and is sometimes interpreted as a symbol of the "Coming of the Light" - Christianity.
Byron Shire's Aboriginal Heritage - The Bundjalung Nation
The Bundjalung Nation encompasses all of the Far North Coast Region and extends from the Clarence River in the south to the Logan River in the north, and to the foothills of the Great Dividing Range in the west. Bundjalung is a name derived from a clan name of this diverse group related by language and culture.
The Bundjalung people are comprised of many clans or tribes with distinct countries or tribal custodial areas. These people were never a nation politically pre European settlement, but shared a commonality through languages and culture in the Northern Rivers Region. Each tribal group post colonisation maintained distinct tribal identities.
It is acknowledged that Byron Shire contains a wealth of Aboriginal cultural sites which include middens, stone arrangements, rock shelters and tool-making sites. Additionally, many Aboriginal words have survived in the names of places within the Shire (e.g. Mullumbimby and Billinudgel). These all testify to the long period of occupation of this area by Aboriginal people prior to the arrival of Europeans.
Protection and preservation of culturally significant areas and the environment is very important to the Bundjalung of Byron Bay and wider Bundjalung people. The landscape around the Byron Shire has many culturally significant areas that are inter-related. These include the lands and waters, plants and animals, special places and stories.
The Bundjalung people are represented by a Council of Elders comprising respected Elders from the different clans of the Bundjalung language group. The Council of Elders is an important consultative group for local Aboriginal people and is recognised as such by the wider community and government bodies.