Few Australians know the unique and proud story of our flag –the only national flag to fly over an entire continent, but also the first to be chosen in an open public competition.
(In some countries the world’s first “flag design competition” would be part of national folklore, and the five competition winners would be household names!)
Following federation in 1901, the new Commonwealth government arranged a competition to choose a flag for the new nation, and entries were submitted from nearly 1% of the population at that time. Five people tied for the honour of designing the Australian flag -Annie Dorrington, Ivor Evans, Leslie Hawkins, Egbert Nuttall, and William Stevens.
The winning design was unveiled on 3 September, which has been officially proclaimed as Australian National Flag Day.
Since then the Australian flag has symbolised our nation in times of war and peace, hardship and prosperity. As former Governor-General (Dame Quentin Bryce AC) has remarked:
“Since it was first unfurled from the Royal Exhibition Building in 1901, our Australian flag has been an icon of our shared identity, of what it means to belong to our country. It is much loved, worn and flown by Australians here and across the world … Wherever it is raised, it stirs in us a sense of unity…”
All Australians are encouraged to make a special effort to fly or display our flag for this special anniversary. Many cities and towns around Australia hold a special flag raising ceremony to mark ‘Flag Day’, but if this is not possible or if there is no ceremony in your
area, then you can still celebrate on 3 September:
 Fly the flag and/or wear a flag badge or sticker;
 Encourage your local school to arrange special flag raising assemblies so that students gain an appreciation of the history and significance of our flag;
 Ask your local MP or Councillor to put out a press release urging local residents, businesses, & organisations to make a special effort to fly the flag on 3 September; &
 Suggest that service organisations, sporting clubs and scout/guide troops etc holding meetings around 3 September should raise the flag or otherwise make special mention of Flag Day at the beginning or end of proceedings.
Or perhaps you can just take the chance to learn more about our flag’s history. A wealth of information about ‘Flag Day’, and about the unique story of the Australian flag, can be found at the “home page” for the Australian flag – www.australianflag.org.au
We’re all proud of our country and it is on days such as “Flag Day” that we can show it!
Published by the Australian National Flag Association (Qld) Inc.
GPO Box 2064, Brisbane Q 4001 E: [email protected]

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