Update on staff use of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags

27 August 2021

UQ has observed that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags are being used on email footers and websites across UQ.

While it is encouraging that so many of you wish to acknowledge Traditional Owners in this way, anyone wishing to use the flag on clothing, merchandise, or in email signatures or on a website, must get permission from the licence holder and this has usually attracted a (sometimes substantial) fee.

UQ takes copyright issues seriously, and so based on legal advice we have received, all staff and units at UQ must stop using both flags in this way until we have obtained licences to do so.

Unlike most other flags around the world, the Aboriginal flag is still protected by copyright. The Aboriginal flag was created by Harold Thomas, a Luritja man, for a national Indigenous day in July 1971, and he maintains the rights to the flag. The rights to reproduce the flag have been granted to three companies, and this has recently been extended to include the digital image.

If you use the flags in your staff email signature or on a UQ website, please remove them immediately. As an alternative, you can download one of the UQ RAP email banners from the UQ Digital Asset Manager.

The Torres Strait Islander flag is also under copyright. However, its owners – the Torres Strait Island Regional Council – are happy to grant permissions provided that the creator of the flag is acknowledged.

Thank you for your understanding in this matter. There are more details via THIS LINK .

Thank you for your understanding in this matter.

- Professor Bronwyn Fredericks

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Engagement)

For more information contact:

Jason Curtis

Executive Officer

Office of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Engagement)


Dr James Lewandowski-Cox

Copyright Officer

UQ Library