(See following article below for Anzac Day Flag Protocol)
A nationwide search
is underway for one of the most important pieces of Australian history – the
original Australian Flag unveiled at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne
in 1901. The Australian National
Flag Association has launched the search, saying
it was time the first Australian Flag was located and preserved.
President Allan Pidgeon said the original flag was reportedly given to a museum
following its unveiling, but there are no records of which museum or where the
flag may have been taken.
possible that this precious piece of Australian history is in a community hall
or museum, or possibly even in a private home, without anyone realising its
significance,” Mr Pidgeon said. “The Australian
National Flag Association is asking all Australians to look closely at any old
national flag they may have in their care, and to get in touch with us if they
think it could be the very first Australian flag.
“The flag was first
flown on the 3rd of September in 1901, following a nationwide
competition which attracted entries from around one per cent of the
population. “That would equate to
around 240,000 entries in today’s Australia,” Mr Pidgeon said. “Now, it’s time for a
fresh national effort to find the flag that
flew from the top of the Melbourne Exhibition Building that day.”
The winning design
was unveiled by the wife of Australia’s first Governor General, the Countess of
Hopetoun, in a ceremony reported in the Melbourne Age:
Lady Hopetoun entered, a huge Blue Ensign with the prize design of the Southern
Cross and a six-pointed star thereon was run up to the top of the flagstaff on
the dome and, breaking, streamed out on the heavy south-westerly breeze, a
brave and inspiring picture.
Mr Pidgeon said the
six-pointed Commonwealth star mentioned in the media report, which represented
the original states, gained an extra point in 1908; with the seventh point
representing the territories.
“This will be one of
the first clues to identifying the original Australian Flag. Also, we are
looking for a big flag - based on reports at the time, we believe that the
first flag was about 11 metres by 5.5 metres in size. “We invite anyone who
might have an idea about what happened to the flag to contact us via
,” Mr Pidgeon said.
Although more than
115 years have passed since the flag’s last known sighting, Mr Pidgeon said
ANFA was optimistic about the chances of locating the original.
“Just last year, the
flag that had been draped across the grave of Breaker Morant in 1902 was found
on a rubbish tip outside Tenterfield. “So there’s every
chance that the original Australian flag is also sitting unnoticed
somewhere. If so, it’s time to find it and give it the recognition
and respect it deserves.
“We hope that there
might be someone whose ancestor ended up with custody of the flag, or who has
found a flag that looks significant, so that we can locate the historic first
Australian flag and put it on public display.”
information about the first Australian flag is invited to contact the
Australian Flag Association on
CORRECT FLAG PROTOCOL FOR ANZAC DAY
We have been
receiving queries about appropriate flag protocol for Anzac Day commemorations
- particularly when flying the Australian flag with other flags including the
NZ flag. There has also been uncertainty about how and when to fly the flags at
Flags are flown at half-mast as a sign
of mourning. The half-mast position will depend on the size of the flag and the
length of the flagpole. The flag must be lowered to a position recognisably
half-mast to avoid the appearance of a flag which has accidentally fallen away
from the top of the flagpole. An acceptable position would be when the top of
the flag is a third of the distance down from the top of the flagpole.
In relation to Anzac Day the Australian National Flag (ANF is to be flown at
half mast from sunrise until 1200 hours on Anzac Day. However, during
individual Anzac Day ceremonies, the ANF is to be half masted and then raised
to the peak during the playing of ‘Reveille’ at the conclusion of the
The flag should never be flown at half-mast at night even if it is illuminated.
When flying the Australian National Flag with other flags, all flags in the set
should be flown at half-mast. The Australian National Flag should be raised
first and lowered last.
Flag order of precedence
The Australian National Flag
takes precedence in Australia over all other flags when it is flown
in company with other flags.
The flag order of precedence is as
2. other nation’s national flags* in
alphabetical order, e.g. New Zealand, United Kingdom, and United States,
3. State flags (NSW, VIC, QLD, SA, WA and
4. Territory flags (ACT and NT),
5. Other flags prescribed by the Flags Act
1953, e.g. Australian Aboriginal Flag and Torres Strait Islander Flag,
6. Australian Defence Force Ensign (ADFE),
7. Australian White Ensign (AWE),
8. Royal Australian Air Force Ensign (RAAF
9. Merchant Marine.
In the absence
of a flag or flags higher in the order, a flag shall follow the
flag being flown that is higher in the order.
The order of precedence does not
require that a flag listed in the order must be flown in company with
other flags in the order.
*Should it be the custom to fly the flags of
other nations at your flag station, it would be appropriate to seek permission
from the diplomatic representatives of that nation to half-mast their flag.
Acknowledgement: Department of Prime Minister &
Cabinet, Department of Defence.