Skip to content
Culturally and linguistically diverse, Education Training

Rich artistic legacy of Aboriginal flag creator honoured with CDU doctorate

Charles Darwin University 2 mins read
Respected First Nations artist and activist Harold Thomas will be presented with an honourary doctorate from Charles Darwin University (CDU) this week.

Respected First Nations artist and activist Harold Thomas will be presented with an honourary doctorate from Charles Darwin University (CDU) this week, in recognition of his significant contribution to the fine arts and activism for Aboriginal rights.

Mr Thomas is most well-known for his design of the Aboriginal Flag, but his body of work expands across more than five decades of mastery in a variety of artistic mediums.

He will receive the title of Honourary Doctor of Arts at the upcoming CDU graduation at the Casuarina campus.

“The creation of Art is my life and will continue to be,” Mr Thomas said.

Painting watercolours and landscapes from the age of 14, Mr Thomas’ trajectory as an artist started when he won a scholarship to the South Australian School of Art for a study of Modern and Contemporary Fine Art, later becoming the first Aboriginal person to graduate from an Australian art school.

Amidst his studies and work as a survey artist at the South Australian Museum, Mr Thomas also became actively involved in social justice for Aboriginal rights.

In 1971, he designed a bold graphic artwork that swiftly became the emblem of the Aboriginal flag, first hoisted during the Aboriginal day march in Victoria Square, Adelaide on July 9 that year.

Drawing from a classical education, his medium of choice has distinctly changed over the years, from watercolours to Modern Art oil paintings, prints, detailed charcoal sketches and abstract graphics sculptures, poetry, book illustrator and Architectural designer and lecturer on Aboriginal material and culture.

CDU Deputy Vice-Chancellor First Nations Leadership, Professor Reuben Bolt, said Mr Thomas’ dedication to fine arts was a testament to his unwavering commitment to preserving and celebrating the rich cultural heritage of First Nations peoples.

“His artistic endeavours are long standing and have been developed over many years, across many artistic disciplines,” Professor Bolt said.

“One of his most influential works, was the design of the Aboriginal flag which later became one of the most recognisable symbols of Aboriginality - a national symbol that featured prominently in the social justice and land rights movements in Australia.

“It was a symbol of activism, yet at the same time, it was and still is, a symbol of unity and solidarity amongst Aboriginal peoples in Australia.”

Contact details:

Alayna Hansen
Communications Officer

T: +61 8 8946 7479
M: 0422 811 892


More from this category

  • Education Training
  • 29/11/2023
  • 10:36
La Trobe University

Bendigo Campus Head appointed

La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar AO congratulated Marg on her appointment. “Marg brings extraordinary leadership experience, deep connections across Bendigo and central…

  • Contains:
  • Education Training, Foreign Affairs Trade
  • 29/11/2023
  • 08:00
Parliament of Australia

Trade Subcommittee hearing with ASEAN members

The Trade Subcommittee of theJoint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Tradewill hold a public hearing in Canberra today for itsinquiry into Australia’s tourism and international education sectors. The Subcommittee will be speaking with the Ambassador of Thailand and a representative from the Royal Embassy of Cambodia. The Chair of the Trade Subcommittee,Senator Deborah O’Neill,said, ‘Continuing to build robust people to people links with Australia’s neighbours is important for strengthening and maintaining existing strategic relationships in the region. Education and tourism have proven to be a key part of doing so.’ ‘The Subcommittee looks forward to hearing from representatives…

  • Education Training
  • 28/11/2023
  • 17:06
NSW Department of Education

Skills Symposium Connects VET Industry Players

Key players in vocational education and training (VET) have gained vital insights into the sector at a Skills symposium as part of the NSW VET Review. The symposium was a key milestone of the VET Review, which aims to identify ways to strengthen the system and better support students and workers. Attending the symposium were peak bodies, government agencies, unions, providers, and industry players. Steve Whan, Minister for Skills, TAFE, and Tertiary Education said the symposium and VET Review have led to important conversations that will result in industry-led changes to bolster capability and resilience in the skills sector. “There…

Media Outreach made fast, easy, simple.

Feature your press release on Medianet's News Hub every time your distribute with Medianet. Pay per release or save with a subscription.