Get to Know 8 Capital Cities in Australia Before You Travel There!07/11/2022
Find Out About Popular Australia’s Coffee Culture Now!07/13/2022
Flags of Australian states and territories differ from one another. The reason why each state and territory has its flags is that they want to deliver representation. What kind of representation? Their identity, geographical elements, natural resources, animals, etc.
Australians share the same history as a part of the British Empire. On January 1, 1901, Australia decided to unite as one nation through the Federation convention and the referendums. They consist of six British colonies — New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, and Western Australia.
The purpose of a distinct and unique design on each flag becomes a symbol that reminds Australians of their history. What had happened to them before they finally came as one? The cause of why the British colonies decided to unite was the awareness to strengthen the economy, established a united defense to protect themselves from other nations’ attacks, the concern of non-White migrants, and the realization that they share the same culture such as language.
Below will be explained further description of the Australian states flags, internal territories, and external territories.
Flags Of Australia States
Most of the state and territory flags have Union Jack on a British dark blue ensign and what makes them distinctive is the badge that represents each state and territory.
According to Ralph Kelly (2021), tracing back to its history, in 1865, the British Admiralty wanted that each colony’s vessel should use its seal or badge. Thus, the pattern of the flags was introduced during that year.
Next, the Colonial Governor added the Union jack for utilization in 1868. Then by 1875, even through several changes, the states had decided to take up the badges on the blue ensign and the Governor’s flag. After that, around 1970, the flag was finally established and was used as a state flag.
1. New South Wales
The flag for New South Wales is a Union Jack on a British blue ensign with a white disc and a red St George’s cross with four eight-pointed stars on each arm and the gold lion in the center of the cross. It is the current flag that has been used since 1876. The origin of the badge was a simple white field and the red cross of St George, which was made in 1876.
What do the features represent? The St. George Cross and the gold lion represent the first European immigrants’ British legacy. The British Royal Navy also uses the St George Cross symbol as their traditional badge. For the stars, it denotes the Southern Cross.
On the hoist side is a union jack on a British blue ensign, and on the fly side of the flight, it is a withe disc with a light blue Maltese Cross and St Edward on it. The design of the flag has been used since 1876. The Governor of Queensland submitted it after being validated by the British Admiralty.
The original design was the picture of Queen Victoria’s head facing to the right side. Then it was suggested to make other alternative designs because it was considered difficult to reproduce. There is no up-to-date explanation of the badge. However, it is assumed to represent Queen Victoria or the vice-regal authority of the Governor.
The flag was first announced in 1870 by the Governor. It displays the Union Jack on the British Blue Ensign and the Southern Cross with the St. Edward crown on top. The design of the crown underwent two changes.
The first design was an Imperial crown, then it changed to St. Edward’s crown in 1901 and is being used until today. The stars of the Southern Cross use different numbers of points – 8, 7,7, 6, and 5 to point out the difference in brightness.
Tasmania’s flag design shows a Union Jack on a British blue Ensign Flag, and on the hoist side, there is a red lion in the center of a white disk. It was originally made to be used on the flag of the Governor; however, it was deserted because it did not fulfill the pattern of the British Admiralty as the colonial flag.
The design was finally announced on December 3, 1975. On September 25, 1876, it was used to distinguish the flag vessels of Tasmania.
5. Western Australia
The flag is called the “Black Swan” flag. It had become Western Australia’s symbol since the 1830s. Governor Frederick Weld suggested the badge for usage in 1870, which was finally confirmed in 1875. The colony of Western Australia, in the early days of their settlement, was called the Swan River Colony. It inspired the creation of the badge.
The black swan symbol originally faced away from the hoist side, and the direction was changed on November 10, 1953. The flag shows the Union Jack on a British Blue Ensign flag and a yellow circle with a black swan.
6. South Australia
The flag was proclaimed on January 13, 1904. It consists of a Union Jack on the hoist side and a gold disc with a piping shrike in the center on the fly side of the flag. The piping shrike bird —white-backed magpie— stands on the branch of a gum tree.
The background of the gold disc represents the rising sun of the federation. The design of the wings is closely related to the arms of Prussia. The flag was originally made for vessels and government buildings. Only after 1908 was it widely used by government institutions and private citizens.
Flags of Australia Internal Territories
1. Australian Capital Territory
The Australian Capital Territory flag combines blue on the hoist side and yellow as the Commonwealth of Australia’s colors. The simple version of the Canberra Coat of Arms is on the yellow side. It refers to the capital city of Australia. Crosses of sword justice surmount the castle, and it symbolizes parliamentary mace. Then, the sovereign government is symbolized by the St. Edward crown.
On the right and left sides of the castle, one blue and white swan represents the Aboriginal people of Australia and European Australians. The rose of York was suggested in 1927. The design has been used since 1993 after a public selection process. Then it was adopted by the territory’s Legislative Assembly.
2. Northern Territory
Another bicolor design, the Northern Territory flag, takes black and red ochre color. It was designed by a notable Australian artist, Mr. Robert Ingpen. The black side bears the Southern Cross and has the same number of points as the Victorian flag.
The ochre color is a design of seven white petals of desert rose and a black star at the center. The seven petals represent the six states of Australia and the Northern Territory. It was adopted on July 1, 1978, when self-government was granted.
3. Jervis Bay Territory
Jervis Bay does not have its flag. It is also the only Australian internal territory with no self-government.
Flags of Australia External Territories
1. Christmas Island
Tony Couch made the design of the flag after he won the public competition. The main emblem of the flag is a Golden Bosun Bird. The combination of blue and green diagonal panels symbolizes the sea and the land vegetation. There is a small map in a yellow circle at the center. Nevertheless, the flag has not been formally adopted.
2. Norfolk Island
The flag was adopted on January 11, 1980, and it became the only external territory with its official flag. The design displays two vertical green panels with a white background and a green Norfolk Island pine tree at the center.
3. Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Locals have unofficially used the flag since 2003. The main emblem is the crescent moon, which symbolizes most Sunni Muslims. They originally came to Coco Island to do labor on copra plantations. On the left top of the flag are copra trees inside the yellow circle background.
List of Australian territories which does not have their flag:
- The Australian Antarctic Territory,
- Jervis Bay Territory,
- Ashmore and Cartier Islands,
- and Heard and McDonald Islands
Flags of Australia States and Territories are distinct from one another. The design of the badge and emblems represent their identity and characteristic. Most of them have the Union Jack and British blue Ensign design; only Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory come with different and unique flags.