As Australia continues to suffer from a wave of fires unprecedented in its modern history, a number of hauntingly beautiful images have emerged showing the elemental force of nature at its most awe-inspiring and terrible.
The most recent of these images is a photo of the apocalyptic skies in the country that bears a brilliant resemblance to the flag representing the indigenous population of Australia—or the Australian Aboriginal Flag.
The photo was taken by Rose Fletcher, a resident of southern Australia who captured it at Victor Harbour while the sun rose on New Year’s Day with ferocious fires burning nearby.
The photo, which has gone viral since it was first posted, was shared along with a comment by Fletcher, which read:
“When this happened, I was feeling hopeless, all the fires, and there between the sunrise and me, a giant pall of smoke over the Southern Ocean – and then that few seconds I could capture.”
Does this picture remind you of anything?It was taken a few minutes after sunrise on Jan 1st by the mouth of the…
In separate comments to Daily Mail Australia, she added:
“It was taken on New Year’s Day, just after sunrise, when the fires were arguably at their worst, and hearts were heavy and people were frightened—me included.”
The rising sun was just a pale disc behind the layers of smoke over the Southern Ocean—and then, for just a few magic seconds, as it moved up through successively dense layers, it formed the Aboriginal flag.”
Upon realizing how powerful the image was, she quickly went home to share it. She said:
“So I went home and put it up on Facebook, hoping that those moments would speak to other people as they spoke to me, and the rest is history.
Thousands of people picked it up and ran with it.”
The picture has resonated across social media, gaining countless shares and comments.
Haunting images of the sun and skyscape resembling the Aboriginal flag as a consequence of the fires🤔😢🤭Photo of the…
One Facebook user wrote:
“Wow. Ancestors are saying something”
While another wrote:
“Says it all really, Aboriginal people looked after the land. Shame on our government in Australia.”
The Australian Museum describes the Australian Aboriginal Flag as “divided horizontally into equal halves of black (top) and red (bottom), with a yellow circle in the center.”
The black in the flag represents the indigenous population of Australia, while the red represents the relationship between the earth and the original people of the continent. It also represents ochre, the naturally red clay used in Aboriginal ceremonies. The yellow at the center of the flag represents the sun its constant renewal of the earth.
The rising sun behind all that smoke seems to be recalling the era when this country was truly loved and respected. 🙁
The flag was designed by Harold Joseph Thomas, a Luritja indigenous man and celebrated Australian artist. It first flew at Victoria Square, Adelaide, on National Aborigines Day on 12 July 1971. The flag has been adopted by all Aboriginal groups in Australia.
As of Saturday, over 23 lives have been claimed by the deadly fire crisis, which has raged since September and already burned over 12 million acres of land, an area larger than Switzerland.
Ecologists fear that nearly 500 million mammals, reptiles and birds—including 8,000 koalas—are estimated to have been killed, although the current death toll is impossible to calculate. The massive loss of life threatens to forever tip the balance for entire species of animals and plants on an island continent where 87 percent of wildlife is endemic to the country, meaning it can only be found on Australia.
Since the image was posted, Fletcher has been impressed by the “magnificent response from ordinary people” across the world. She explained:
“I relinquish all claim to it, please share it. I’m overwhelmed by the response, and thankful to every person who has passed it on to others.”
“Stunning photograph shows bushfire smoke turning the Australian sky into a re-creation of the Aboriginal flag” https://t.co/UOjfC6uwkf Ponder: had we not killed loads of Aboriginals, AND learned their bush management wisdom, we might not have had such a terrible time as now. pic.twitter.com/o0r8mEjRiR
— Alex Rowan (@AleksanderRowan) January 5, 2020