A documentary which tells the story behind the Torres Strait flag will air this month to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its inception.
The documentary ‘Carry the Flag’ not only tells the story behind the colours and symbols of the Torres Strait Flag, but it also shares the story about the man who designed it – Bernard Namok Snr.
The history behind the flag design is an interesting one.
Originally launched at the Cultural Festival in 1992, Committee members of the, then, Island Coordinating Council (now Torres Strait Island Regional Council), organised a flag design competition, discovering that it was important for the region to have their own flag.
“What may seem like a simple flag to some people has given all Torres Strait Islanders an identity and a sense of pride as indigenous Australians,” says Bernard Namok, son of flag designer Bernard Namok Snr.
Bernard, who is now a senior broadcaster at Top End Aboriginal Bush Broadcasting Association (TEABBA) Radio and the mornings presenter, said the documentary tells the story of his father’s iconic design.
“I wanted to educate people about the designer and to highlight the wonderful people and culture of the Torres Strait,” Bernard said.
In order to tell his father’s story, Bernard travelled back home to the Torres Strait in 2016 and asked family members to shed light on the man who was Bernard Namok Snr to reveal the meaning and history stitched into the Torres Strait Flag.
“The green represents the land, Australia and Papua New Guinea, blue the water around the Torres Strait Islands, black lines represents the Torres Strait People, the Dhari is the traditional headdress, the five pointed star represent the five major island groups. The star about navigation; a symbol of the seafaring culture of the Torres Strait.”
Planning for the documentary took a few years and filming took place over two weeks on Thursday Island, Badu Island, Kubin and St Paul on Moa Island.
The documentary will screen on NITV on May 29 at 8.30pm.