Harold Joseph Thomas is an Indigenous Australian descended from the Luritja people of Central Australia. An artist and land rights activist, he is best known for designing and copyrighting the Australian Aboriginal Flag.
Thomas designed the flag in 1971 as a symbol of the Indigenous land rights movement. Black – represents the Aboriginal people of Australia. Yellow circle – represents the Sun, the giver of life and protector. Red – represents the red earth, the red ochre used in ceremonies and Aboriginal peoples spiritual relation to the land.
The flag was first flown at Victoria Square in Adelaide on Aborigines Day, 12 July 1971, after which it was chosen as the flag for the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in 1972. Cathy Freeman captured the nation's and the world’s heart when she won the gold medal in the 400 metre sprint. During her victory lap she carried both the Australian and Aboriginal flags — a true symbol of reconciliation and pride of her Aboriginal cultural heritage.