For hundreds and even thousands of years, Torres Strait Islanders have been a proud and independent people. Today is nothing different – today May 29 is the 23rd Anniversary of the Torres Strait Flag.
Back in the 1990s there was a competition for all Torres Strait Islanders to come up with a design to best represent and unite our people under one banner. Bernard Jnr remembers, “From the announcement of the competition, I remember dad sitting up late doing sketches of the flag and would get up early for work the next day.” Bernard snr was a humble and quite man and always had time for family. The nights would spend at Grandad, Mr Ettie Pau family home (Bernard Snr father in law) who shared stories about the history, culture and traditions of our people. Unfortunately Bernard Snr didn’t live to see the success of his creation and the places the flag has flown not only in Australia but around the world, he would have been proud.
Bernard Jnr holds this day close to his heart, “To me May 29, was the birth of our identity. The Torres Strait Flag represents unity. It identify who you are, we as Torres Strait Islanders. For me personally I hold the flag close to my heart, it holds so much memories, it takes me back home to the islands, back to my roots where I feel I belongs and most of all, memories of dad.
A documentary is being co-produced by Tamarind Tree Pictures and TEABBA. The Documentary will unpick the stories and symbolism embedded in the Torres Strait Islander Flag and highlight the work of the flags designer, Bernard Namok Snr.
Watch this space.