THE Torres Strait Islander flag is flying for the first time at Fentonbury, in a nod to NAIDOC Week which runs from July 3-10 as a national celebration and recognition of the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Local volunteers Stefan Frazik, Pauline Browning and Gerry Ygosse today hoisted the Torres Strait Islander Flag, alongside the Aboriginal Flag, on the new flagpoles at the Fentonbury War Memorial. The Aboriginal flag was seen there on Anzac Day but it is the first time the islander flag has been seen locally. The flags were provided by the Federal Member for Lyons, Brian Mitchell MHR.
Later this week a flag-raising will be held at the new civic flagpoles outside the Derwent Valley Council Chambers in New Norfolk. On Friday at 10am the council will raise the Australian Flag, Aboriginal Flag and the Torres Strait Islander Flag. After NAIDOC Week the Tasmanian Flag will replace the islander flag.
In 1986 there was a real feeling of excitment around in FNQ because the first “Torres Strait Cultural Festival” was going to be a thing.
The flag was officially recognised and presented to the people of Torres Strait on 29 May 1992 at the sixth “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 Torres Strait Islander Flag is attributed to the late Bernard Namok of Thursday Island. His flag was the 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.