The Meaning of The Australian Flag


The Australian Flag

Australia’s National Flag

In 1901, the Commonwealth of Australia was formed.  Until this time, Australia used Britain’s flag, the Union Jack.  A competition was held to find the design for Australia’s own flag.  Five designers shared the prize because they came up with similar ideas for the Australian flag.

In the top left hand corner is the Union Jack.  This shows that Australia is part of the British Commonwealth.  Beneath the Union Jack is a large white star with seven points.  The points represent the six states and the territories.  Originally this star had six points.  The seventh point, for the territories was added in 1908.

On the right hand side are the stars of the Southern Cross. The southern Cross was chosen because it can always be seen in the Australian sky at night.

The Aboriginal Flag

The Aboriginal Flag was designed by Harold Thomas, an artist and an Aboriginal, in 1971. The flag was designed to be an eye-catching rallying symbol for the Aboriginal people and a symbol of their race and identity. The black represents the Aboriginal people, the red the earth and their spiritual relationship to the land, and the yellow the sun, the giver of life.

In the late 1960s, Aborigines stepped up their campaign for indigenous land rights through protest marches, demonstrations, banners and posters. The protests increased in the early 1970s and Harold Thomas noticed they were often outnumbered by non-Aborigines with their own banners and placards. He decided they needed to be more visible and the idea of the flag was born.

The Aboriginal flag was first raised in Victoria Square in Adelaide on National Aboriginal Day in 1971, but was adopted nationally by Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders in 1972 after it was flown above the Aboriginal “Tent Embassy” outside of the old Parliament House in Canberra.

The Aboriginal flag is increasingly being flown by both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. In view of its increasing importance in Australian society, the Government initiated steps in 1994 to give the flag legal recognition. After a period of public consultation, the Government made its own decision in July 1995 that the flag should be proclaimed a “Flag of Australia” under section 5 of the Flags Act 1953. The flag was so proclaimed by the Governor General of Australia, William Hayden, on 14 July 1995.

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  One thought on “The Meaning of The Australian Flag

  1. Ben H
    February 4, 2013 at 1:49 am

    I have found out that they are using a new australian for sports click on this link to see the new aussie flag.

  2. Jaymes
    February 4, 2013 at 1:51 am

    Well I know the Australian flag was made in 1901. It’s got the southen cross witch if you look up in the sky at night you can see it. It’s used in sports like the Olympics, and other sports like football I think. It’s on flag poles so people know that is what the Australian flag looks like.

  3. Jaymes
    February 4, 2013 at 1:57 am

    Why do they want to change the Australian flag because the people who died in the war were burried with that flag? How long did it take to make the Australian flag and the Aboriginal flag?

  4. Mason
    February 4, 2013 at 1:57 am
    The Reconciliation Flag has been derived by the same process which resulted in the Union Jack – by overlaying the crosses of St George (England), St Andrew (Scotland) and St Patrick (Ireland). It combines major elements of the National Blue Ensign (the Cross) and the Aboriginal Flag (the Sun) on a ground that is a symbol of the land (and derived from the format of the Aboriginal Flag). It eliminates the contentious aspects of both flags – the Union Jack and black exclusiveness.

    Its colours, too, are an amalgamation of principles from the two flags – two taken from each: red and white from the Australian Flag and red and yellow from the Aboriginal Flag. The existing blue is replaced by green which, together with the yellow, makes the colours of the wattle – which have ever been the colours of Australian national sporting teams and were very popular for patriotic causes in the first decades of our nation. Other connotations include: the cross, which recalls our Christian traditions; green, which recognises our Islamic population; the five-pointed white star, which is the symbol of the Torres Strait Islands; and the fact that red, green and white are colours from the flags of many of our immigrant population.

    on this wedsite you will find a Reconcilliation flag.

  5. jake
    February 4, 2013 at 1:58 am

    It is mostly used when soilders all wars die and they cloke the coffin of the dead soilder with the australian flag and walk down a walk way to thier grave. R.I.P. I wonder why the aboriginal flag has the sun in the middle not the top. Why would people want a brand new flag, when the creater of our great flag did such hard work?

  6. natashae
    February 4, 2013 at 1:59 am

    The Australian National Flag is Australia’s foremost national symbol. It was first flown in 1901 and has become an expression of Australian identity and pride.
    The Australian National Flag flies over the federal and state parliaments. The flag is paraded by our defence forces and displayed around the country at sporting events and by service organisations, schools, community groups and private citizens.

    The Australian National Flag has three elements on a blue background: the Union Jack, the Commonwealth Star and the Southern Cross.

    • natashae
      February 4, 2013 at 2:03 am

      The colonies of Australia federated to become a single Commonwealth in 1901. That year, Australia’s first Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Sir Edmund Barton announced an international competition to design a flag for the new nation. It attracted 32,823 entries. Five near-identical entries were awarded equal first and the designers shared the £200 prize.

      The Australian National Flag was flown for the first time in September 1901 at the Exhibition

      Building in Melbourne, which was then the seat of the federal government.

      It was announced in Commonwealth of Australia Gazette No 8 of 1903 that King Edward VII approved designs for the flag of Australia, known as the Commonwealth blue ensign, and for the flag of the merchant navy, known as the Commonwealth red ensign. The stars of the Southern Cross were simplified to four seven-pointed stars and one five pointed star. (The 1901 design depicted the stars with a differing number of points to signify their brightness.) In 1908 a seventh point was added to the Commonwealth star to represent the Australian territories.

  7. Heidie
    February 4, 2013 at 2:01 am

    Australia: The flag was first flown in the year 1901. The number of flag entries for australia was 32,832. I have a website:

    Aboriginal: The aboriginal flag was first flown in 1972 at the Tent Embassy in Canberra. In July 1995 the Government decided that the aboriginal flag should be a ” Flag Of Australia”.

    A website about if we should get a new flag:

  8. Jaymes
    February 4, 2013 at 2:02 am

    Good website for the Australian flag

  9. josh wardle
    February 4, 2013 at 2:07 am

    The Australian has a new flag it is a sporting flag it’s gold,blue and white.

  10. connor
    February 4, 2013 at 2:08 am
  11. jackv
    February 4, 2013 at 2:11 am

    the australian flag was used on boats and in the army when the soilders dieded they put it on the graveto say there from australia.

  12. Amy
    February 4, 2013 at 2:12 am

    The australian flag came into being after the federation of the australian states into the commonwealth of australia o the 1 0f january 1901. several nations and territories have flags with similar apearence to the australian flag

  13. luke read
    February 4, 2013 at 2:12 am

    What do you think you know about this topic.
    The Australian flag was made by a girl in 1901 there was over 30,000 people that wanted there flag design in the running to of made the australian flag

    what questions do you have.

    Who made the flag?

    Will they ever change the australian flag?

  14. Kayleigh
    February 4, 2013 at 2:13 am

    on this web adress you will find information about the new sporting flag uh and you will also learn that the green represent the grass of the land, the yellow represents the sun then the 5 stars represent the 5 states

  15. rennae
    February 4, 2013 at 2:13 am

    I know that the australian flag colours mean Blue – vigilance, truth and loyalty, perseverance & justiceWhite – peace and honesty Red – hardiness, bravery, strength & valour. When Australian solders die they lay the Australian flag over their coffin. There is a national flag day on the 3rd of September.
    Why do they want to change the Australian flag?

  16. Tojiddin Haitov
    February 4, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Very useful historical information. I guess Tajikistan students will like this information, especially those who are interested in history and English speaking countries.

    • February 5, 2013 at 11:40 am

      Welcome Mr Haitov to our Blog,

      We hope you and your students can gain new information about our many cultures and we hope to send you a welcome pack connecting you with Australia and 5/6J.


      Mrs Joyce

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