On 1st January 1901, six separate British colonies federated as a new and independent country. The Commonwealth of Australia officially flew the flag of the British Empire as well as the popular but unofficial Australian Federation Flag until a nationwide competition to design a new flag was held.
Initially started by the Melbourne monthly magazine The Review of Reviews for Australasia, the new Federal Government announced a further competition (Gazetted 29th April 1901) and the earlier competition entries were transferred and the prize was increased to 200 pounds, which, today, is roughly equivalent to four years’ average wages - a great deal of money indeed. The competition attracted 32,823 entries.
The entry rules for the private competition were highly suggestive and the judging and approval process were such that only a British Ensign with a badge representative of Australia was likely to be a winner.
When the winning flag design was chosen, a review of the entries revealed that five people submitted almost identical designs. These people were declared joint winners and shared the prizemoney. They were:
Annie Dorrington, Artist, Perth. (1866-1926)
Australia’s first Prime Minister, Edmund Barton, announced the winning design in Melbourne on 3rd September 1901. The design had a mixed reception and caused some controversy at the time, on aesthetic grounds as much as its Anglophile nature. The Australian Natives’ Association in particular felt that it was unsuitable or insufficiently patriotic.
The adoption of the winning flag design was never debated in the Australian Parliament - it was sent to the Imperial Authorities in England to be approved. It wasn’t until late 1902 that King Edward VII formally notified the Australian Government of the approval and this approval was finally Gazetted on 20th February 1903.
The original design has been changed three times since 1901. First, in 1903 the design was changed so that all but the smallest star in the Southern Cross had seven points, ostensibly to improve the ease of manufacture. In 1906 Australia acquired the Territory of Papua and to indicate this the number of points on the Federation Star (A.K.A.: Commonwealth Star) was increased to seven in 1908. This second design change was Gazetted on 22nd May 1909.
When the Northern Territory and ACT were created as Federal Territories in 1911, the number of points on the Federation Star was not increased and remained at seven and today represents all the Federal Territories which, include the Northern Territory, the Australian Capital Territory, The Cocos Islands and the Australian Antarctic Territory. The red ensign remained the Civil flag and the blue ensign the Government flag.
However, the flag still had no legal status beyond the original British Admiralty authorisations which only related to use at sea. It wasn’t until the Flags Act 1953 (enacted 1954) was passed by the Menzies Government that Australia finally had an official national flag and one that was required to be flown in a superior position to any other national flag (including the Union Flag).
The Flags Act 1953 formally adopted the current design as Australia’s “National Flag” and the Act was assented to by Queen Elizabeth II on her first visit to Australia on 15th April 1954, the first Act of the Australian Parliament to receive assent by the Monarch rather than the Governor General. Finally, more than 53 years after the first design was hoisted, Australia had an official national flag.
The Australian flag was usually flown in conjunction with, often in an inferior position to, the Union Flag of the UK well into the 1960’s despite the requirements of the Flags Act 1953. Many Australians considered themselves to be still Britons and Arthur Smout in his 1968 The Flag Book lamented the fact that many seemed to show more loyalty to the Union Flag than to the Australian flag.
Today, there is a growing debate about whether Australia should adopt a new flag, as many see the current British ensign-based design as inappropriate in an increasingly multicultural country that has been progressively weakening its ties with Britain since 1901. Also, the Union Flag occupies what is known as the vexillological honour point and as Australia becomes more independent, many think Australian symbols rather than the flag of another nation should occupy this position.
Ivor, one of the designers, had very clear ideas about what his flag meant and what he intended it to say about Australia and Australians. This young 14 year old believed that the Southern Cross, the brightest constellation in the Southern Hemisphere, was representative of Australia’s bright future as a leading nation. However there was another reason for his choice of the Southern Cross. The poet, Dante, wrote about four bright stars which symbolised the four moral virtues of justice, prudence, temperance and fortitude. These were principles that Ivor believed Australians should live up to.
Ivor believed that the flag of the United Kingdom, Great Britain, had a place on Australia’s flag because of the historical links between our island continent and the British isles. Australia had been colonised by the British in 1788 and one of the first things they did on Australian soil was raise the Union Jack. The flag has been part of our history ever since. Ivor believed that its “honourable place” on the Australian flag recognised this fact - a new nation paying respect to its origins.
Ivor Evans made a flag that he filled with symbols of his hopes for the nation’s future. They were his call to the citizens of a brand new country to rise to the challenge of independent nationhood. But he did not forget the past when he incorporated those very same designs, symbolic of Australia’s history and geography, into the flag that would represent her all round the world.
Fly the Home Flag.
The Union Jack, AKA the Union Flag is in the upper hoist quadrant of the Australian flag and denotes Australia’s historical links with Great Britain. In the lower hoist quadrant is a large seven (7) pointed star representing the states of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia Western Australia and the Territory of Papua and not Northern Territory as comally believed. The rest of the flag is comprised of the Southern Cross. Remembering the Eureka Stockade rebellion at Ballarat in Victoria. It is an a background of Blue denoting the Night Sky.
The Union Jack itself is a composite of three flags symbolizing the union of the historical components of the United Kingdom.
Cross of Saint George.
England: Vertical red cross on a white field - dates from the time of Crusades in the year 1194 and was the decoration of the tunics covering the chain mail of the crusaders.
Cross of Saint Andrew.
Scotland: AKA the Saltire. Diagonal white cross on a dark blue field and this colour was adopted for the general background of the Union Flag on April 6, 1606 after James I (James VI of Scotland ) came to rule over both countries and had the two flags united.
Lt. James Cook (soon to be promoted to Captain) landed on the Australian shore at Botany Bay on April 28th, 1770. It was he who raised the Union Flag in the name of King George III.
His was the first recorded landing on the Australian east coast and the act of raising the Union Flag at Botany Bay represented taking possession of the land in the name of the King.
It was this same version of the Union Jack that was raised by Govenor Philip on 26th January 1788, on the founding of the first white settlement in Australia, at Sydney Cove. This date then became Foundation Day a national holiday, which is now celebrated as Australia Day.
Cross of Saint Patrick.
Ireland: Diagonal red cross on a white background added to the Union Flag in 1801 when Ireland was incorporated into the union of Great Britain and the cross of St Patrick was added to make the Union Jack as we know it today.
It was done in such a way that neither the red or white diagonals are seen to be superior on the hoist side the white is superior, on the fly side the red is superior.
The reason for the white surround the the red Cross of St George is that it an heraldic taboo to place red directly on blue.
|January 1st||Anniversary of the establishment of the Commonwealth of Australia.|
|January 26th||Australia Day. (Also on the public holiday observed by each individual state and territories)|
|February 6th||Anniversary of the accession of the Sovereign.|
|April 21th||Anniversary of the birthday of the Sovereign.|
|April 25th||Anzac Day. (Flown at half-mast until midday, then masthead until sunset)|
|May 9th||Anniversary of the inauguration of Canberra as the Seat of Government of the Commonwealth. (Canberra only)|
|June 2nd||Anniversary of the Coronation of the Sovereign.|
|June 10th||Birthday of the Consort of the Sovereign.|
|June...||Official Birthday of the Sovereign and Commonwealth Day. (Actual date of the Queen’s Official Birthday proclaimed annually.)|
|August 4th||Birthday of the Queen Mother.|
|October 24th||United Nations Day.|
|November 11th||Remembrance Day. (Flown at the peak from 0800 to 1030; half mast until 1103; then at the peak for the remainder of the day.)|
|November 14th||Birthday of the Heir Apparent.|
Crux Australis, Anthony Burton (Editor), Flag Society of Australia, Melbourne, Australia.
The 1901 Australian Flag Competition: Facts Behind the Myths, Ralph Kelly, Volume X No 1 January 1994.
The Flag Book, Arthur H Smout, Penpress, Brisbane, 1968.
Flag of Stars, Frank Cayley, Rigby Ltd, Adelaide, 1966.
Flags of Australia, John C Vaughan, Standard Publishing House, Sydney, 1983.
Flags of the Nations, Flag Society of Australia, Flag Research Center.
The Heraldry & Genealogy Society of Canberra Inc.
These Animations are to the best of my knowledge Royalty Free.
NOTE: Australian Flags has been split into 02 pages because of the great N° of animations. The Links to the other pages are found beneath the Page Counter. On page 02 you’ll find the links to the Big & XL animations.
A lot of the flags here were made by me at makegif.com.
Koori or Aboriginal Flags.
These are the only sizes in these Ani’s. To Save Right Click & Choose “Save Pic As”.
Go to Flags 02
|AUSSIE MONEY.||STATES & TERRITORIES.|