News: National Flag Raising Day

Council celebrated when the Australian National Flag was first flown with a flag raising ceremony on the lawn outside Council Chambers.

Posted: Monday, 3 September 2018

Mayor Steve Edgington addressed staff outside Council Chambers to mark National Flag Raising Day on 3 September.

The Mayor told staff that Flag Day is an opportunity to remind all Australians of the importance and significance of Australia's foremost national symbol.

Australia recognises other official flags, including the Australian Aboriginal Flag and the Torres Strait Islander Flag.

Anthony Crafter gave a Welcome to Country at the flag raising ceremony with Deputy Mayor Kris Civitarese given the honour of raising the Australian Flag followed by Councillor Ray Aylett raising the NT Flag and Councillor Ronald Plummer raising the Australian Aboriginal Flag.

The Australian National Flag was first flown 117 years ago. It was a large flag, 5.5 by 11 metres, and was flown over the dome of the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne on 3 September, 1901. 

The flag was the result of an international competition, pronounced by the then Prime Minister Sir Edmund Barton, to design a flag for the Commonwealth of Australia. Five near-identical designs were awarded equal first place from more than 30,000 designs. The winners shared the prize of two hundred pounds.

King Edward VII approved the design for the Flag of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1903, incorporating both the (blue) Ensign and the (red) Merchant Flag.

The Flags Act 1953 declared the (blue) Ensign as the Australian National Flag and on 28 August 1996 the Governor-General Sir William Deane pronounced that 3 September 1996 would be National Flag Day. It has been celebrated ever since.

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

The Union Jack in the upper left corner represents the history of British settlement.

Below the Union Jack is a white Commonwealth, or Federation, star. It has seven points representing the unity of the six states and the territories of the Commonwealth of Australia. The star is also featured on the Commonwealth Coat of Arms.

The Southern Cross is shown on the flag in white. It is a constellation of five stars that can only be seen from the southern hemisphere and is a reminder of Australia’s geography.

The Australian National Flag can be flown every day of the year, and the size of the flag over Parliament House is 12.8 by 6.4 metres or slightly larger than the side of a double decker bus.