Full Name: Commonwealth of Australia
Phone code: +61
The national flag of Australia is a blue field with the Union Jack in the upper hoist-side quadrant, and a large white seven-pointed star known as the Commonwealth Star or Federation Star in the lower hoist-side quadrant. The fly contains a representation of the Southern Cross constellation, made up of five white stars – one small five-pointed star and four, larger, seven-pointed stars.
Australia Flag symbolism – meaning
Union Jack represents Australia’s historical links with the United Kingdom
White 7-pointed Commonwealth Star stands for the unity of the six states and the territories of the Commonwealth of Australia.
The Southern Cross, a constellation of five stars that can only be seen in the night skies of the Southern hemisphere, symbolizes Australia’s position in the southern hemisphere. The formal name of the Southern Cross is “Crux Australis” and the individual stars are named by the first five letters of the Greek alphabet in order of brightness – Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta & Epsilon.
Australian Flag Vs New Zealand Flag
Difference between Australian Flag and New Zealand Flag
The main difference between Australia Flag and New Zealand Flag is that the flag of Australia has six white stars while the flag of New Zealand has four 5-point red stars with white borders. Five of the six stars on Australian flag have seven points while the smallest star has five points. Australian flag depicts Southern Cross constellation with five white stars – one small five-pointed star and four, larger, seven-pointed stars while the flag of New Zealand shows Southern Cross with four 5-point red stars with white borders.
Australian Red Ensign
The Australian Red Ensign is identical to the Australian National Flag except that it had a red background instead of a blue one. From 1901 to 1954 the flag was used as a civil flag, to be flown by private citizens on land, while the government used the Blue Ensign. With the passage of the Flags Act 1953, the restriction on civilians flying the Blue Ensign was officially lifted. The Red Ensign remains the only flag permitted for use by merchant ships registered in Australia. Pleasure craft may use either the Red Ensign or the national flag, but not both at the same time. The Shipping Registration Act 1981 reaffirmed that the Australian Red Ensign was the proper “colours” for commercial ships over 24 metres (79 ft) in tonnage length. When the Australian Red Ensign is flown along with the Australian National Flag, the Australian National Flag should be flown in the position of honour.
Australian White Ensign
The Australian White Ensign (also known as the Australian Naval Ensign or the Royal Australian Navy Ensign) is a naval ensign used by ships of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) since 1967. The Australian White Ensign is identical to the Australian National Flag except that it had a white background instead of a blue one and blue stars instead of white stars. From the formation of the RAN until 1967, Australian warships used the British White Ensign as their ensign. However, this led to situations where Australian vessels were mistaken for British ships, and when Australia became involved in the Vietnam War, the RAN was effectively fighting under the flag of another, uninvolved nation. Proposals were made in 1965 for a unique Australian ensign, which was approved in 1966, and entered use in 1967.
Royal Australian Air Force Ensign
Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Ensign
The Royal Australian Air Force Ensign is based on the Australian national flag, with the field changed to Air Force blue, and the southern cross tilted clockwise to make room for the RAAF roundel inserted in the lower fly quarter. The roundel is a red leaping kangaroo on white within a dark blue ring. The southern cross is tilted so that Gamma Crucis stays in the same position as for the Australian National Flag and that Alpha Crucis is moved along the x-axis towards the hoist by one-sixth of the width of the flag. This results in the axis being rotated 14.036° clockwise around Gamma Crucis and each star is rotated in this way, although the constellation as a whole is not simply rotated.
Although the flag is meant for the exclusive use of Royal Australian Air Force, permission was granted to New Lambton Public School, NSW on 18 May 1995 to fly the RAAF ensign in recognition of the school’s services to the RAAF during World War II (the school was used as No. 2 Fighter Sector Headquarters). New Lambton Public School is currently the only school in Australia with permission to fly the RAAF ensign.
Australia Flag Information
Australia flag history
Prior to Federation on 1 January 1901, the official flag of the Australian Colonies was the flag of Great Britain, the ‘Union Jack’. In 1901 Prime Minister the Rt Hon Sir Edmund Barton MP, announced an international competition to design a flag for the Commonwealth of Australia.
Competitions seeking designs for a national flag run by the Melbourne Herald and the Review of Reviews in 1900 were well supported. On 29 April 1901 a notice was placed in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette inviting entries in an official competition, offering a prize of £75 to the winning entry. Five near-identical entries were awarded equal first place (£40 each) from the 32,823 entries received.
Ivor Evans First Officer with Union Steamship Company of NZ
Annie Dorrington Teenage optician’s apprentice from Leichhardt, NSW
Leslie Hawkins 14 year old schoolboy from Melbourne
Egbert Nuttal well-known artist from Perth
William Stevens Architect with the Melbourne & Metropolitan Board of Works
In 1903 King Edward VII approved two designs for the flag of Australia – the Commonwealth blue ensign, and the Commonwealth red ensign, for the merchant Navy. Federal Parliament passed a resolution on the 2 June 1904 to fly this flag ‘upon all forts, vessels, saluting places and public buildings of the Commonwealth upon all occasions when flags are used’. The Australian Flag consists of three parts set on a blue field. The first part is the Union Jack, illustrating the link with Britain. The second aspect is the Southern Cross, representing Australia. Finally, the Commonwealth Star represents Australia’s federal system. Originally, the Commonwealth Star had six points (for the six states), but, in 1908 a seventh point was added to represent the territories of the Commonwealth.
The Australian National Flag was flown for the first time in September 1901 at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne. (Melbourne was then the seat of the federal government) While the design and uses of the flag were proclaimed in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, it was not until the Flags Act 1953 that legislation was passed prescribing the form and use of the flag. Section 3 of the Act states that the flag (illustrated in the First Schedule to the Act) is ‘declared to be the Australian National Flag’.