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The Australian Flag

The Australian Flag came into being after the the federation of the Australian States into the Commonwealth of Australian on 1 January, 1901. The Commonwealth Blue Ensign was selected a a result of a public competition (over 30 000 designs were submitted); although selected in 1901 and gazetted in 1903, it was not given Royal assent and adopted as the definitive Australian flag until 1954 in the Flags Act 1953 (Act No. 1 of 1954)! It is based on the Blue Ensign of the United Kingdom, is twice as long as it is wide, and consists of a dark blue field that can be notionally divided into four quadrants. There is a different motif in each of the upper and lower hoist quadrants and the remaining two quadrants of the fly share another different constellation motif.

The present Australian flag can be considered to consist of three main elements:

Other Australian Ensigns

The Australian Army is represented by and protector of the Australian National Flag. In addition to the the Commonwealth Ensign, there are three other official Australian ensigns:

Flags Similar to the Australian Flag

Several nations and territories have flags with similar appearance to the Australian National Flag, reflecting either a common British colonial history or previous association with Austrlaia. Most notable is the New Zealand National Flag, a Blue Ensign with a Southern Cross of four red stars.

State and Territory Flags

Each of the six states of Australia has its own Official State Flag consisting of a Blue Ensign defaced with the badge or heraldic device of the state concerned; the heraldic devices are those represented in the Commonwealth Arms.

The flags of the Australian territories and of more individual nature and are not based on the Blue Ensign.

Other "Australian" Flags

Prepared by Jim Croft (jrc@anbg.gov.au)
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