Australian National Flag - Meaning & Symbolism


The People's Choice – Our National Flag of “Stars and Crosses”

The Australian National Flag was chosen by the Australian people in the year of federation (1901) from 32,823 entries received in a public design competition.  The new Prime Minister, Edmund Barton was the master of ceremonies for the first raising of the large, blue national flag, measuring 11 x 5.5 metres. The event was held on 3  September 1901 when the flag was hoisted above the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne.  Later, 3 September was officially proclaimed as Australian National Flag Day to commemorate the day in 1901 on which the Australian flag was first flown .

Australian National Flag – The Symbolism

The Australian National Flag is a design of striking stars and crosses. This unique combination of devices has created an attractive and meaningful flag which by law, custom and tradition is Australia’s chief national symbol. Our flag should be treated with dignity and respect as it represents all Australian citizens equally, whatever their background, race,  colour, religion or age.  Our flag is a reminder of the contributions of past and current generations to the nation and of the inheritance that will be passed to future generations.

The Crosses – The Saints

The three crosses, St George, St Andrew and St Patrick acknowledge the principles and ideals flowing from the British heritage of European settlers; including parliamentary democracy, the rule of law, freedom of speech and the rights and responsibilities of citizens.

The Stars – The Southern Cross

The constellation of the Southern Cross indicates our geographical location in the southern hemisphere. This constellation of  stars relates to the various indigenous legends and reminds us of our rich and precious Aboriginal and Torres Strait heritage.

The Commonwealth Star – National Federation

The large seven pointed star is the emblem of Australian Federation. Six points represent the states and the seventh all the federal territories which together constitute the nation, the Commonwealth of Australia.



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. 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. 


We’re all proud of our country and we can fly our flag to show it!