Marn Grook or marngrook, from the Woiwurung language for "ball" or "game", is a collective name given the traditional Indigenous Australian football game played at gatherings and celebrations of sometimes more than 100 players. The indigenous ball game Woggabaliri, the subject of William Blandowski's Drawings of 1857, was a children's version of the adult game, equates to the modern children's Australian football game of kick-to-kick. Marn Grook featured punt catching a stuffed ball, it involved large numbers of players, games were played over an large area. The game was not played tribe versus tribe. All tribes consisted of two halves most represented by the totemic symbols of Black Cockatoo and White Cockatoo; the tribes would therefore merge and divide themselves into the two teams based on the moiety totems. The game was subject to strict behavioural protocols and for instance all players had to be matched for size and skin group relationship. However, to observers the game appeared to lack a team objective, having no real rules, or scoring.
A winner could only be declared. Individual players who exhibited outstanding skills, such as leaping high over others to catch the ball, were praised, but proficiency in the sport gave them no tribal influence. Anecdotal evidence supports such games being played all over Australia, including the Djabwurrung and Jardwadjali people and other tribes in the Wimmera and Millewa regions of western Victoria (However, according to some accounts, the range extended to the Wurundjeri in the Yarra Valley, the Gunai people of Gippsland, the Riverina in south-western New South Wales; the Warlpiri tribe of Central Australia played a similar kicking and catching game with a possum skin ball, the game was known as pultja. The earliest accounts emerged decades after the European settlement of Australia from the colonial Victorian explorers and settlers; the earliest anecdotal account was in 1841, a decade prior to the Victorian gold rush. Although the consensus among historians is that Marn Grook existed before European arrival, it is not clear how long the game had been played in Victoria or elsewhere on the Australian continent.
Some historians claim that Marn Grook had a role in the formation of Australian rules football, which originated in Melbourne in 1858 and was codified the following year by members of the Melbourne Football Club. This connection has become culturally important to many Indigenous Australians, including celebrities and professional footballers from communities in which Australian rules football is popular. Robert Brough Smyth, in an 1878 book, The Aborigines of Victoria, quoted William Thomas, a Protector of Aborigines in Victoria, who stated that in about 1841 he had witnessed Wurundjeri Aborigines east of Melbourne playing the game; the men and boys joyfully assemble. One makes a ball of possum skin, somewhat elastic, but firm and strong.... The players of this game do not throw the ball as a white man might do, but drop it and at the same time kicks it with his foot, using the instep for that purpose.... The tallest men have the best chances in this game.... Some of them will leap as high as five feet from the ground to catch the ball.
The person who secures the ball kicks it.... This continues for hours and the natives never seem to tire of the exercise; the game was a favourite of the Wurundjeri-william clan and the two teams were sometimes based on the traditional totemic moeties of Bunjil and Waang. Robert Brough-Smyth saw the game played at Coranderrk Mission Station, where ngurungaeta William Barak discouraged the playing of imported games like cricket and encouraged the traditional native game of marn grook. An 1857 sketch found in 2007 describes an observation by Victorian scientist William Blandowski, of the Latjilatji people playing a football game near Merbein, on his expedition to the junction of the Murray and Darling Rivers; the Australian Sports Commission considers this sketch to be depicting the game of Woggabaliri. The image is inscribed: A group of children is playing with a ball; the ball is made out of typha roots. It is kicked up in the air with a foot; the aim of the game – never let the ball touch the ground.
Historian Greg de Moore comments: What I can say for certain is that it's the first image of any kind of football that's been discovered in Australia. It pre-dates the first European images of any kind of football, by ten years in Australia. Whether or not there is a link between the two games in some way for me is immaterial because it highlights that games such as Marn Grook, one of the names for Aboriginal football, were played by Aborigines and should be celebrated in their own right. In 1889, anthropologist Alfred Howitt, wrote that the game was played between large groups on a totemic basis — the white cockatoos versus the black cockatoos, for example, which accorded with their skin system. Acclaim and recognition went to the players who could kick the highest. Howitt wrote: This game of ball-playing was practised among the Kurnai, the Wolgal, the Wotjoballuk as well as by the Woiworung, was known to most tribes of south-eastern Australia; the Kurnai made the ball from the scrotum of an "old man kangaroo", the Woiworung made it of rolled up pieces of possum skin.
It was called by them "mangurt". In this tribe the two exogamous divisions and Waa, played on opposite sides; the Wotjoballuk played this game, with Krokitch on one side and Gamutch on the other. The mangurt was sent as a token of friendship from one to another
Tjurunga is a genus of spiders Churinga and Tjuringa redirect here. For the moth genus, see Churinga. A Tjurunga or as it is sometimes spelled, Churinga, is an object considered to be of religious significance by Central Australian indigenous people of the Arrernte groups. Tjurunga had a wide and indeterminate native significance, they may be used variously in sacred ceremonies, as bullroarers, in sacred ground paintings, in ceremonial poles, in ceremonial headgear, in sacred chants and in sacred earth mounds. Speaking, tjurunga denote sacred stone or wooden objects possessed by private or group owners together with the legends and ceremonies associated with them, they were present among the Arrernte, the Luritja, the Kaitish, the Unmatjera, the Illpirra. These items are most oblong pieces of polished stone or wood; some of these items have hair or string strung through them and were named "bull roarers" by Europeans. Upon each tjurunga is a totem of the group to which it belongs. Tjurunga are sacred, in fact, they are considered so sacred that only a few are able to see them and it is considered sacrilegious to publish a picture of them.
Durkheim suggests that the name "churinga" is a noun, but can be used as an adjective meaning "sacred". The term Tjurunga was translated by Carl Strehlow to mean something similar to personal. Tju means "hidden" or "secret", runga means "that, personal to me". Kempe argued against this translation and suggested that Tju means "great", "powerful", or "sacred" and that runga did not translate into personal ownership; the ownership of sacred tjurunga amongst the Arrernte groups was determined by "the conception site" of every individual member of a patrilineal totemic clan. Because these relics are considered sacred, their availability is limited to a small number of people. During the early 20th century and before, only initiated males were able to see or touch these sacred objects. Women and uninitiated males were not allowed to see them, except from a far distance; the tjurunga were kept separately from the rest of the clan in a sacred location, unavailable to the uninitiated and women. While some theorists, such as Strehlow, have suggested these relics are amongst the few forms of property which may be owned legitimately by individual persons in Central Australia and Kempe contend that the tjurunga cannot be owned by an individual.
For example, Durkheim writes, "As concerns the meaning of the word runga, that seems doubtful. The ceremonies of the Emu belong to all the members of the Emu clan. In many myths the ancestors themselves are said to have used them and stored them away as their most treasured possessions; such myths emphasise the life-holding magical properties of these tjurungas. The ancestor regarded his tjurunga as portions of his own being. Accordingly, legends abound with stories of theft and robbery, the fierce vengeance exacted. Tjuringa were thought to have magical properties, they would be rubbed on the body to confer sacredness onto the subject and to do things such as heal wounds. While tjuringa was useful to the individual, the clan's collective fate was considered to be tied up with the items. After all, it was the totemic image; the acquisition of sufficient knowledge leading to possession of personal tjurunga was long and sometimes painful. Practices differed amongst the various groups. Ted Strehlow describes how the men from the Northern and Western Arrernte groups were put on probation for several years after their last initiations.
The tjurunga were visible embodiments of some part of the fertility of the great ancestor of the totem in question. The body of the ancestor undergoes a transmutation into something that will weather all the assaults of time and decay. Stone tjurunga were thought to have been made by the ancestors themselves; the wooden tjurunga made by the old men are symbolical of the actual tjurunga which "cannot be found". These "man-made" tjurunga were accepted without reservation as sacred objects. At the time of receiving his tjurunga-body a young man may be twenty-five years of age, he will be thirty-five or forty years of age before the most sacred chants and ceremonies that are linked with it have passed into his possession. As he grows older and continues to demonstrate his worthiness, he receives an ever-increasing share in the tjurunga owned by his own totemic clan, he may become a member of the assembly of senior Lawmen who are honoured trustees for the ancient traditions of the whole clan. In 1933, Strehlow noted that after the advent of white men to Central Australia, the young men employed by the foreign intruders were watched closely by the old men of their group.
In many cases, unless the young men were outstandingly generous in their gifts towards their elders, no ceremonies or chants of power and importance were handed on to this unworthy younger generation. With the death of the old men such chants and ceremonies passed into oblivion; the old men would note a young man's conduct. He had to be respectful towards his elders, he would know the value of silence in ceremonial matters. His own marriage had to conform to the laws of the group. One day the old men, sitting in a circle, would call him in to sit down in their midst, they b
Australian Aboriginal sacred sites
Aboriginal Australians believe that The Dreaming, cultural values, spiritual beliefs and kin-based relationships of the local people cause some areas or places to be sacred. The Aboriginal population of Australia is made up of many tribes and nations, each with their own sacred places, animal totems and other items in the geographic area known as their ‘country’. Sacred sites are places within the landscape that have a special significance under Aboriginal tradition. Hills, waterholes, trees and other natural features may be sacred sites. In coastal and sea areas, sacred sites may include features which lie both below water. Sometimes sacred sites are obvious, such as ochre deposits, rock art galleries, or spectacular natural features. In other instances sacred sites may be unremarkable to an outside observer, they can range in size to an entire mountain range. The Dreaming refers collectively to Aboriginal religious beliefs; these beliefs endeavour to explain the questions of ultimate human reality, including the origins of humans and animals.
The Dreaming is an ongoing phenomenon, incorporating the present and the future. Aboriginal people believe that the Spirits who inhabited the land were their ancestors and their identity is derived from the Spirits from whom they descended. Particular tribes have their own totem, an animal native to their tribe's territory, their traditional way of life is based on their relationship with the land, which they believe to be their origin and ultimate destiny. They believe it is their duty to take only what is needed; the beliefs of the Dreaming are various. They depend on an individual's tribe, gender and totem; the traditional custodians of the sacred sites in an area are the tribal elders. "Sacred sites give meaning to the natural landscape. They anchor kin-based relationships in the land. Custodians of sacred sites are concerned for the safety of all people, the protection of sacred sites is integral to ensuring the well-being of the country and the wider community." These sites were used for many sacred traditions and customs.
Sites used for male activities, such as initiation ceremonies, may be forbidden to women. Before 1965 there was no legislation protecting Aboriginal sites in Australia, with the exception of some regulations in the Northern Territory. In 1965, the South Australian Government was the first to introduce legislation, all other States have since done so. Legislation relating to the protection and management of sacred sites in Australia includes: Criminal offences apply under Commonwealth and state and territory laws for unauthorised access to sacred sites. Damage to these sites can result in civil penalties; some documented examples of Aboriginal sacred sites in Australia include: Baiame's Cave: south of Singleton, New South Wales Ban Ban Springs: near Gayndah, Queensland Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory was first inscribed on the List of World Heritage Sites in Oceania in 1981. Willandra Lakes Region was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1981 and included in the National Heritage List on 21 May 2007.
Murujuga: in the Pilbara Western Australia. Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park was added to the World Heritage List for cultural values in 1994 and is "associated with events, living traditions and beliefs". In June 2008 BBC released the series Ray Mears Goes Walkabout, composed of four episodes, where Mears tours the Australian outback. An accompanying hardcover book was published in the UK by Hodder and Stoughton in March 2008. In the series, Mears meets one of his heroes, Les Hiddins, he headed to the Kimberley region to meet the reputed aboriginal artist and bush guide Juju Wilson. Aboriginal sites of New South Wales Customary Aboriginal law Gamilaraay people Hindmarsh Island bridge controversy
Kurdaitcha is a ritual "executioner" in Australian Aboriginal culture. The word is used by Europeans to refer to the shoes worn by the Kurdaitcha, woven of feathers and human hair and treated with blood; the indigenous name for the shoes is intathurta in the South. Other spellings of Kurdaitcha are Kadaitcha. Among traditional Indigenous Australians there is no such thing as a belief in natural death. All deaths are considered to be the result of evil spirits or spells influenced by an enemy. A dying person will whisper the name of the person they think caused their death. If the identity of the guilty person is not known, a "magic man" will watch for a sign, such as an animal burrow leading from the grave showing the direction of the home of the guilty party; this may take years but the identity is always discovered. The elders of the mob that the deceased belonged to hold a meeting to decide a suitable punishment. A Kurdaitcha may not be arranged to avenge them; the practice of Kurdaitcha had died out in Southern Australia by the 20th century although it was still carried out infrequently in the North.
The practice, in regard to bone pointing by itself, does continue into modern times albeit rarely. An Illapurinja "the changed one", is a female Kurdaitcha, secretly sent by her husband to avenge some wrong, most the failure of a woman to cut herself as a mark of sorrow on the death of a family member. Believed to be mythical, the fear of the Illapurinja would be enough to induce the following of the custom; the name Kurdaitcha is used by Europeans to refer to the oval shoes worn by the Kurdaitcha. The Indigenous name for the shoes are interlinia in intathurta in the South; the shoe is a mat of feathers mixed with human blood in such a way that the blood can not be detected and a close examination does not reveal how the feathers remain stuck together. The upper surface is covered with a net woven from human hair. An opening in the centre allows the foot to be inserted, it is taboo for any woman or child to see them and when not in use are kept wrapped in kangaroo skin or hidden in a sacred place.
Although they may be used more than once they don't last more than one journey. When in use, they are decorated with lines of white and pink down and are said to leave no tracks. Before the shoes can be worn a secret ritual must be performed. A stone is heated red-hot and placed against the ball of the small toe. Once the joint has softened the toe is jerked outwards. Although the ritual has never been observed, examinations of the feet of men who claim to be Kurdaitcha have all shown the same peculiar dislocation. Additionally, the genuine Kurdaitcha shoe has a small opening on one side where a dislocated little toe can be inserted.α The expectation that death would result from having a bone pointed at a victim is not without foundation. Other similar rituals that cause death have been recorded around the world. Victims become listless and apathetic refusing food or water with death occurring within days of being "cursed"; when victims survive, it is assumed. The phenomenon is recognized as psychosomatic in that death is caused by an emotional response—often fear—to some suggested outside force and is known as "voodoo death".
As this term refers to a specific religion, the medical establishment has suggested that "self-willed death", or "bone-pointing syndrome" is more appropriate. In Australia, the practice is still common enough that hospitals and nursing staff are trained to manage illness caused by "bad spirits" and bone pointing; the following story is related about the role of kurdaitcha by anthropologists John Godwin and Ronald Rose: In 1953, a dying Aborigine named Kinjika was flown from Arnhem Land in Australia's Northern Territory to a hospital in Darwin. Tests revealed he had not been poisoned, nor was he suffering from any sort of injury. Yet, the man was most dying. After four days of agony spent in the hospital, Kinjika died on the fifth, it was said. "Bone pointing" is a method of execution used by the Aborigines. It is said to leave no trace, never fails to kill its victim; the bone used in this curse is made of human, emu or wood. The shape of the killing-bone, or kundela, varies from tribe to tribe.
The lengths can be from six to nine inches. They look like a long needle. At the rounded end, a piece of hair is attached through the hole, glued into place with a gummy resin. Before it can be used, the kundela is charged with a powerful psychic energy in a ritual, kept secret from women and those who are not tribe members. To be effective, the ritual must be performed faultlessly; the bone is given to the kurdaitcha, who are the tribe's ritual killers. These killers go and hunt the condemned; the name, comes from the slippers they wear while on the hunt. The slippers are made of cockatoo feathers and human hair—they leave no footprints, they wear kangaroo hair, stuck to their bodies after they coat themselves in human blood and they don masks of emu feathers. They hunt in pairs or threes and will pursue their quarry for years if necessary, never giving up until the person has been cursed. Once the man is caught, one of the kurdaitcha points the kundela; the victim is said to be frozen with fear and stays to hear the curse, a brief piercing chant, that the kurdaitcha chants.
He and his fellow hunters return to the village and the kundela is
Indigenous Australians are the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia, descended from groups that existed in Australia and surrounding islands before British colonisation. The time of arrival of the first Indigenous Australians is a matter of debate among researchers; the earliest conclusively human remains found in Australia are those of Mungo Man LM3 and Mungo Lady, which have been dated to around 50,000 years BP. Recent archaeological evidence from the analysis of charcoal and artefacts revealing human use suggests a date as early as 65,000 BP. Luminescence dating has suggested habitation in Arnhem Land as far back as 60,000 years BP. Genetic research has inferred a date of habitation as early as 80,000 years BP. Other estimates have ranged up to 100,000 years and 125,000 years BP. Although there are a number of commonalities between Indigenous Aboriginal Australians, there is a great diversity among different Indigenous communities and societies in Australia, each with its own mixture of cultures and languages.
In present-day Australia these groups are further divided into local communities. At the time of initial European settlement, over 250 languages were spoken. Aboriginal people today speak English, with Aboriginal phrases and words being added to create Australian Aboriginal English; the population of Indigenous Australians at the time of permanent European settlement is contentious and has been estimated at between 318,000 and 1,000,000 with the distribution being similar to that of the current Australian population, the majority living in the south-east, centred along the Murray River. A population collapse principally from disease followed European settlement beginning with a smallpox epidemic spreading three years after the arrival of Europeans. Massacres and war by British settlers contributed to depopulation; the characterisation of this violence as genocide is controversial and disputed. Since 1995, the Australian Aboriginal Flag and the Torres Strait Islander Flag have been among the official flags of Australia.
The word aboriginal has been in the English language since at least the 16th century to mean, "first or earliest known, indigenous". It comes from the Latin word aborigines, derived from origo; the word was used in Australia to describe its indigenous peoples as early as 1789. It soon became employed as the common name to refer to all Indigenous Australians. While the term Indigenous Australians, has grown since the 1980s to be more inclusive of Torres Strait Islander people, many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples dislike it, feeling that it is too generic and removes their identity. Being more specific, for example naming the language group, is considered best practice and most respectful. Terms that are considered disrespectful include Aborigine and ATSI The broad term Aboriginal Australians includes many regional groups that identify under names from local Indigenous languages; these include: Murrawarri people -- see Murawari language. Anindilyakwa on Groote Eylandt off Arnhem Land.
These larger groups may be further subdivided. It is estimated that before the arrival of British settlers, the population of Indigenous Australians was 318,000–750,000 across the continent; the Torres Strait Islanders possess a heritage and cultural history distinct from Aboriginal traditions. The eastern Torres Strait Islanders in particular are related to the Papuan peoples of New Guinea, speak a Papuan language. Accordingly, they are not included under the designation "Aboriginal Australians"; this has been another factor in the promotion of the more inclusive term "Indigenous Australians". Six percent of Indigenous Australians identify themselves as Torres Strait Islanders. A further 4% of Indigenous Australians identify themselves as having both Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal heritage; the Torres Strait Islands comprise over 100 islands which were annexed by Queensland in 1879. Many Indigenous organisations incorporate the phrase "Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander" to highlight the distinctiveness and importance of Torres Strait Islanders in Australia's Indigenous population.
Eddie Mabo was from "Mer" or Murray Island in the Torres Strait, which the famous Mabo decision of 1992 involved. The term "black" has been used to refer to Indigenous Australians since European settlement. While related to skin colour, the term is used today to indicate Aboriginal he
Australian Aboriginal religion and mythology
Australian Aboriginal religion and mythology are the stories traditionally performed by Aboriginal peoples within each of the language groups across Australia. All such myths variously "tell significant truths within each Aboriginal group's local landscape, they layer the whole of the Australian continent's topography with cultural nuance and deeper meaning, empower selected audiences with the accumulated wisdom and knowledge of Australian Aboriginal ancestors back to time immemorial". David Horton's Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia contains an article on Aboriginal mythology observing: "A mythic map of Australia would show thousands of characters, varying in their importance, but all in some way connected with the land; some stayed spiritually in that vicinity. Others came from somewhere else and went somewhere else." "Many were shape changing, transformed from or into human beings or natural species, or into natural features such as rocks but all left something of their spiritual essence at the places noted in their stories."Australian Aboriginal mythologies have been characterized as "at one and the same time fragments of a catechism, a liturgical manual, a history of civilization, a geography textbook, to a much smaller extent a manual of cosmography."
An Australian linguist, R. M. W. Dixon, recording Aboriginal myths in their original languages, encountered coincidences between some of the landscape details being told about within various myths, scientific discoveries being made about the same landscapes. In the case of the Atherton Tableland, myths tell of the origins of Lake Eacham, Lake Barrine, Lake Euramo. Geological research dated the formative volcanic explosions described by Aboriginal myth tellers as having occurred more than 10,000 years ago. Pollen fossil sampling from the silt which had settled to the bottom of the craters confirmed the Aboriginal myth-tellers' story; when the craters were formed, eucalyptus forests dominated rather than the current wet tropical rain forests. Dixon observed from the evidence available that Aboriginal myths regarding the origin of the Crater Lakes might be dated as accurate back to 10,000 years ago. Further investigation of the material by the Australian Heritage Commission led to the Crater Lakes myth being listed nationally on the Register of the National Estate, included within Australia's World Heritage nomination of the wet tropical forests, as an "unparalleled human record of events dating back to the Pleistocene era."Since Dixon has assembled a number of similar examples of Australian Aboriginal myths that describe landscapes of an ancient past.
He noted the numerous myths telling of previous sea levels, including: the Port Phillip myth, describing Port Phillip Bay as once dry land, the course of the Yarra River being once different, following what was Carrum Carrum swamp. The Great Barrier Reef coastline myth in Yarrabah, just south of Cairns, telling of a past coastline which stood at the edge of the current Great Barrier Reef, naming places now submerged after the forest types and trees that once grew there; the Lake Eyre myths, telling of the deserts of Central Australia as once having been fertile, well-watered plains, the deserts around present Lake Eyre having been one continuous garden. This oral story matches geologists' understanding that there was a wet phase to the early Holocene when the lake would have had permanent water. Other volcanic eruptions in Australia may be recorded in Aboriginal myths, including Mount Gambier in South Australia, Kinrara in northern Queensland. There are 900 distinct Aboriginal groups across Australia, each distinguished by unique names identifying particular languages, dialects, or distinctive speech mannerisms.
Each language was used for original myths, from which the distinctive words and names of individual myths derive. With so many distinct Aboriginal groups, languages and practices, scholars cannot attempt to characterise, under a single heading, the full range and diversity of all myths being variously and continuously told, elaborated and experienced by group members across the entire continent; the Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia observes: "One intriguing feature is the mixture of diversity and similarity in myths across the entire continent." The Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation's booklet, Understanding Country, formally seeks to introduce non-indigenous Australians to Aboriginal perspectives on the environment. It makes the following generalisation about Aboriginal myths and mythology: "...they describe the journeys of ancestral beings giant animals or people, over what began as a featureless domain. Mountains, waterholes and plant species, other natural and cultural resources came into being as a result of events which took place during these Dreamtime journeys.
Their existence in present-day landscapes is seen by many indigenous peoples as confirmation of their creation beliefs..." "The routes taken by the Creator Beings in their Dreamtime journeys across land and sea... link many sacred sites together in a web of Dreamtime tracks criss-crossing the country. Dreaming tracks can run for hundreds thousands of kilometres, from desert to the coast may be shared by peoples in countries through
Australian Aboriginal Flag
The Australian Aboriginal Flag represents Aboriginal Australians. It is one of the official flags of Australia, holds special legal and political status, it is flown together with the national flag and with the Torres Strait Islander Flag, an official flag of Australia. The Australian Aboriginal Flag was designed in 1971 by Aboriginal artist Harold Thomas, descended from the Luritja people of Central Australia and holds intellectual property rights to the flag's design; the flag was designed for the land rights movement, it became a symbol of the Aboriginal people of Australia. The flag's width is 1.5 times its height. It is horizontally divided into a red region. A yellow disc is superimposed over the centre of the flag; the Government of Australia granted it Flag of Australia status, under the Flags Act 1953, by proclamation on 14 July 1995. Due to an "administrative oversight", the 1995 proclamation was not lodged so that it would continue in force indefinitely, it was therefore identically replaced, on 25 January 2008, with effect as from 1 January.
In the 2008 proclamation, the flag "is recognised as the flag of the Aboriginal peoples of Australia and a flag of significance to the Australian nation generally" and appointed "to be the flag of the Aboriginal peoples of Australia and to be known as the Australian Aboriginal Flag". The design is reproduced in Schedule 1 and described in Schedule 2; the symbolic meaning of the flag colours is: 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 official colour specifications of the Australian Aboriginal Flag are: In most cases, on-screen or digital reproductions of the flag should use the RGB colours as in the table above. This version of the flag can be seen at the top of this page; when displaying in physical fabric formats, it is much preferred to use the Pantone specifications. When printing on paper, the CMYK colours are superior.
The flag was first flown on National Aborigines Day in Victoria Square in Adelaide on 12 July 1971. It was used in Canberra at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy from late 1972. In the early months of the embassy—which was established in February that year—other designs were used, including a black and red flag made by supporters of the South Sydney Rabbitohs rugby league club, a flag with a red-black field containing a spear and four crescents in yellow. Cathy Freeman caused controversy at the 1994 Commonwealth Games by carrying the Aboriginal flag as well as the Australian national flag during her victory lap of the arena, after winning the 200 metres sprint. Despite strong criticism from both Games officials and Australian team president Arthur Tunstall, Freeman carried both flags again after winning the 400 metres; the decision in 1995 by Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags should be given the status of national flags was opposed by the Liberal Opposition at the time, Opposition Leader John Howard stating that "any attempt to give the flags official status under the Flags Act would rightly be seen by many in the community not as an act of reconciliation but as a divisive gesture".
Nonetheless, since Howard became Prime Minister in 1996 and under subsequent Labor governments, these flags have remained national flags. However, this decision was differently criticised by Thomas himself, who said that the Aboriginal flag "doesn't need any more recognition". In 1997, in the case Thomas v Brown and Tennant, the Federal Court of Australia declared that Harold Thomas was the owner of copyright in the design of the Australian Aboriginal flag, thus the flag has protection under Australian copyright law. Thomas had sought legal recognition of his ownership and compensation following the Federal Government's 1995 proclamation of the design, his claim was contested by George Brown and James Tennant. Since Thomas has awarded rights to Carroll & Richardson – Flagworld Pty Ltd and Birubi Art Pty Ltd for the manufacture and marketing of the flag and of products featuring the flag's image; the National Indigenous Advisory Committee campaigned for the Aboriginal flag to be flown at Stadium Australia during the 2000 Summer Olympics.
SOCOG announced. The flag has been flown over the Sydney Harbour Bridge during the march for reconciliation of 2000 and many other events, including Australia Day. On the 30th anniversary of the flag in 2001, thousands of people were involved in a ceremony where the flag was carried from the Parliament of South Australia to Victoria Square. Since 8 July 2002, after recommendations of the Council's Reconciliation Committee, the Aboriginal Flag has been permanently flown in Victoria Square and in front of the Town Hall. Many buildings in Australia fly the Aboriginal flag as well as the Australian flag, the Melbourne Trades Hall being an example. Various councils in Australian towns fly the Aboriginal flag from the town halls, such as Bendigo; the first city council to fly the Aboriginal flag was Newcastle City Council in 1977. And it is used as the team colours of the all-aboriginal AFL team The Fitzroy Stars; the Aboriginal flag is sometimes substituted for the Union Flag in the canton of Australia's flag in proposed new Australian flag designs.
Such flags have been presented in science fiction as futuristic Australian flags, as in the film Event Horizon, where it was worn by Sam Neill. Many Aboriginal people object to this use, in