My Life Abroad: The Adventures of Two Birds
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Nov '07

The Australian Flag

The Australian Flag


In vexillological terms, the Australian flag is a defaced British blue ensign (the State Ensign of the United Kingdom).

In the upper hoist (canton) of the flag is the Union Flag (i.e. the State and Civil Flag of the United Kingdom, popularly called the Union Jack). On the fly are 5 white stars, representing the Southern Cross, a constellation of stars generally only visible in the southern hemisphere. Each of these stars has 7 points except for the smallest star which has only five.

Directly below the Union Flag is a large 7 pointed white star called the Federation Star, representing the federation of the colonies of Australia on 1 January 1901. There is one point for each of the six original states, and one to represent all of Australia’s internal and external territories.

There is an arguement for changing the Australian Flag. There are over fifty sovereign nations in the Commonwealth, some have remained monarchies, some have become republics. Only two (Australia and New Zealand) still retain British Ensigns as their national flags. Fiji left the Commonwealth in 1987 and Tuvalu dropped the Union Jack from its flag on 1 October 1995. All the other Commonwealth countries have chosen flags which clearly identify their sovereignty, independence and nationhood.

Flag Adopted: 14 April 1954