National Flag of Australia

The first official Australian Flag came into existence on January 1901, following the confederation of six colonies into the Commonwealth of Australia.

  • Prior to confederation, the colonies of Australia had to use the flags of the United Kingdom. Based on the British Blue Ensign, the Australian National Flag was actually the result of a competition organized by the new Federal Government which attracted over 32,000 participants.

  • In 1951, the Australian Blue Ensign had legally been changed to the Australian National Flag with legislative support in 1953. Till the year 1953, the Australian Flags were referred to as Ensigns, indicative of a junior in rank or a subordinate.

  • Besides the Commonwealth Ensign, the three other Australian official Ensigns are:
  • The Australian Red Ensign for the Merchant Navy
  • The Australian White Ensign for the Royal Australian Navy
  • The Sky-blue Ensign for the Royal Australian Air Force

  • For the first time, on 3rd September 1901, the new Australian National Flag flew atop the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne. On 28 th August 1996, Sir William Deane, the Governor- General of Australia, issued a proclamation to the effect that September 3 rd would be observed the Australian National Flag Day annually.

  • Flag Features & Symbols

    • The Australian National Flag is identified by three distinguishing elements with a blue base: The Union Flag, the Commonwealth Star and the Southern Cross. Since 1901, the original design has been changed thrice.

    • The Union Flag : Also known as the Union Jack, it is located on the upper hoist quarter. The Union Jack is symbolic of Australia's history as a collection of British colonies. Another historical view is that the Union Jack is a demonstration of loyalty to the British Empire.

    • The Commonwealth Star : A large white seven- pointed star identified as the Commonwealth Star is located on the lower hoist of the Flag. Also known as the Federation Star, this symbol represents the confederation of the Australian Colonies on 1 st January 1901.

    • The Southern Cross (Crux): The constellation of five white stars of the fly of the Flag symbolizes the Southern Cross. It is the brightest constellation visible in the Southern Hemisphere and since the early British settlement, the Southern Cross has been used to represent Australia and New Zealand.

    • The blue colored base of the Flag is symbolic of Australia as an island continent. It also represents the blue sky and man's journey to Australia. Furthermore, blue is also symbolic of the remnant of the Eureka Flag which too had a blue background.

    Other Australian Flags include:
    • The Queen's Personal Flag for Australia
    • The Governor General's Flag
    • The 'Eureka Flag'
    The Flag of Aboriginal Australia


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