Australian National Flag – Meaning & Symbolism
THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE – OUR NATIONAL FLAG OF “STARS AND CROSSES”
The Australian National Flag was chosen by the Australian people in the year of national federation, 1901 from 32,823 entries received in a public design competition. The popular contest was initiated by a publication, The Review of Reviews and made official by the Commonwealth Government. The Prime Minister, Sir Edmund Barton was the master of ceremonies for the first raising of the large, blue national flag, measuring 11 x 5.5 metres. The event was held on 3 September 1901 when the flag was hoisted above the then Commonwealth Parliament, Melbourne. Today, 3 September has been officially proclaimed and is celebrated annually as our Australian National Flag Day.
AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL FLAG – THE SYMBOLISM
The Australian National Flag is a design of striking stars and crosses. This unique combination of devices has created an attractive and meaningful flag which, by law, custom and tradition is Australia’s chief national symbol. Our flag should be treated with dignity and respect as it represents all Australian citizens, equally of whatever, background, race, colour, religion or age. Our flag is a reminder of the contributions of past and current generations to the nation and of the inheritance that will be passed to future generations.
THE CROSSES – THE SAINTS
The three crosses, St George, St Andrew and St Patrick serve to represent the principles and ideals on which our nation was founded and is based on today; including parliamentary democracy, the rule of law, freedom of speech and the rights and responsibilities of citizens.
THE STARS – THE SOUTHERN CROSS
The constellation of the Southern Cross indicates our geographical location in the southern hemisphere. This constellation of stars relate to the various indigenous legends and remind us of our rich and precious Aboriginal and Torres Strait heritage.
THE COMMONWEALTH STAR – NATIONAL FEDERATION
The large seven pointed star is the emblem of Australian Federation. Six points represent the states and the seventh all the federal territories which together constitute the nation, the Commonwealth of Australia.
Australian Flag Rites
AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL FLAG RIGHTS AND SIGNIFICANCE
Every Australian Citizen has the right and privilege of flying or displaying the Australian National Flag (ANF), our flag of “STARS AND CROSSES”, with dignity and respect in accord with the rules of flag etiquette and protocol.
The Australian National Flag is Australia’s chief national symbol by law, custom and tradition, belonging equally to all Australian citizens. Usage of the ANF is shared with Government though, unlike the National Coat of Arms, the Australian National Flag is owned by the people exclusively, under law, in the Commonwealth Flags Act.
The Australian National Flag should be treated with dignity and respect at all times as it identifies and represents our sovereign nation both at home and overseas and all citizens, equally of the Commonwealth of Australia to whom it belongs.
The Flag was chosen from 32,823 entries in a unique public competition in the Federation year, 1901 when it was first flown on 3 September over the Commonwealth Parliament, Melbourne. Australian National Flag Day is officially recognised by Proclamation of the Governor-General. Our Flag Day is celebrated annually on 3 September.
Australia’s youth and our new citizens have the right to full and accurate knowledge of the history, heritage and significance of Australia’s national flag of “Stars and Crosses” which represents the principles and ideals on which our country was founded and the inheritance of future generations.
John Christian Vaughan, National Spokesman Australian National Flag Association www.australianflag.org.au