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Children shine at the Our Flag, Our Story: The Torres Strait Islander Flag Official Book Launch at Gab Titui

The Torres Strait Islander Flag Official Book Launch at Gab Titui
John Manas Jnr, grandson of the late Bernard Namok Sr shared a book reading with mother Betty Namok.

The Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) Culture Art and Heritage Program proudly hosted the official launch of the new Magabala children’s picture book: Our Flag, Our Story: The Torres Strait Islander Flag, held at the Gab Titui Cultural Centre.

Co-authors Bernard Namok Jnr., son of the late Bernard Namok Sr., the esteemed designer of the Torres Strait Islander Flag, and Thomas Mayo captivated an eager crowd of community members and school students with stories about making the book.

“We both knew it would be a piece of importance for our next generation to learn about the Torres Strait flag, and what it means to us,” Mr Mayo responded to a question by a student in the crowd.

“My favourite part was seeing myself illustrated alongside my father,” Mr Namok Jnr answered, when a student asked for his favourite part of working on the book.

Our Flag, Our Story is filled with beautiful illustrations by award-winning Badhulgal/Meriam artist Tori-Jay Mordey.

“Each page includes a colourful representation of our people and culture; Tori-Jay did a deadly job,” Mr Namok Jnr said.

The launch was held on the eve of the Torres Strait flag’s 32nd anniversary, during National Reconciliation Week 2024.

It honoured the Namok and extended families, and celebrated the legacy of the late Bernard Namok Snr, whose flag design is the symbol of unity, identity, and pride for all Torres Strait Islander peoples.

TSRA Chairperson Napau Pedro Stephen AM reflected on the first unveiling of the Torres Strait Islander flag design and emphasised the importance of sharing its story with the next generation of Torres Strait Islanders.

“32 years ago, in 1992, we first saw the iconic white dari, and the green, black and blue symbolic representations of our region, and our people,” Mr Stephen said.

“In an instant our region was unified, and in July 1995, the Torres Strait Islander flag was recognised by the Australian Government as an official ‘Flag of Australia’ through the Flags Act (1953),

“It is a triumphant story that young people will be able to learn about through the Our Flag, Our Story children’s book,

“Not only does it teach an essential piece of Australian history, but it also encourages Indigenous literacy, through offering an inspiring, yet familiar story that young people can identify with,” Mr Stephen said.

At the launch, young John Manas Jnr, grandson of the late Bernard Namok Sr, shared a book reading, followed by a special performance by the young performers of the Lagaw Titui Dance Team.

Our Flag, Our Story: The Torres Strait Islander Flag books sold out at the launch. The Gab Titui Cultural Centre have ordered a restock, and the books will be available for purchase in the Gallery Shop, and online through shop.gabtitui.gov.au. It also includes teacher support material linked to the Australian curriculum, making it an invaluable learning resource.

  • The Torres Strait Islander Flag Official Book Launch at Gab Titui
  • The Torres Strait Islander Flag Official Book Launch at Gab Titui
  • The Torres Strait Islander Flag Official Book Launch at Gab Titui

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