The flag of Australia consists of the Union Jack (British flag) in the top left corner, the Star of Federation in the bottom left corner, and The Southern Cross constellation which takes up the right half of the flag. The current flag has been in public use since 1908, and the dimensions were formally documented in 1934. This flag became the official national symbol of the nation after the 1953 Flags Act was passed in parliament.
The Union Jack is a nod to the British colonial past of the country which initially started as a penal colony. The British culture has heavily influenced Australia and its language, education, and politics. The Southern Cross constellation is one of the most prominent constellations in the Southern Hemisphere and can be seen from all of the nation's states and territories. The Star of Federation represents the six states, as well as one territory.
The current flag is heavily influenced by a flag that was introduced to the country in 1901 through a newspaper contest held by the Melbourne Herald. King Edward VII officially approved the design as the flag of Australia during 1903, and it was flown for the first time in Melbourne the same year. The current flag has made only minor changes to the flag designed in 1901, and this design is very similar to the present-day flag except for the star on the left-hand side containing six sides instead of seven.
Before 1901, Australia was considered as six separate British colonies, and each state flew a different flag, all featuring the Union Jack. Previous flags include the Eureka flag, the National Colonial flag, the Murray River Flag, and the Australian Federation Flag. There is also an Australian Aboriginal flag which consists of a 50/50 red and black banner divided horizontally centred by a yellow circle. Black is symbolic of the Aboriginal people of Australia and red is a symbol of the aboriginal people's spiritual relationship with the land. The yellow circle in the centre signifies the life that the sun gives the earth.
This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018
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