Australian National Flag Day
[All the information on this page was kindly supplied by the President,
The Australian National Flag Association of Queensland (Inc.)]
On 28 August 1996, The Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, Sir William Deane, acting on the advice of the Federal Executive Council, declared that 3 September in each year would be observed as "Australian National Flag Day" throughout Australia and in the external Territories of Australia.
Whilst Australian National Flag Day will not be a public holiday, it will be a day "to commemorate the day in 1901 when Australia's National Flag was first flown.
Interesting facts about the Australian National Flag:
. The Australian National Flag is the only one to fly over a whole continent.
. The Australian National Flag also flies over Australia's seven external territories: Norfolk Island, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Christmas Island, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, the Australian Antarctic Territory, the Coral Sea Islands, and Ashmore and Cartier Islands.
. The Australian National Flag was the first national flag chosen in an open public competition.
. The prize money for the design competition (200 pounds) was a substantial sum of money in those days - in fact it was equivalent to four year's wages for an average worker!
. Given that there were 32,823 entries in the design competition, and the 'Australian' population was estimated to be around 3.6 million in 1901; an equivalent response rate from today's population of 19.2 million would amount to around 175,000 entries!
. Arranging the 32,823 entries for display at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne took eight weeks, and it took the judges 6 days to inspect them all and choose the winning design.
. Entrants in the flag competition gave their imagination free reign: designs submitted featured 'every kind of flora and fauna identifiable with Australia - sometimes all at once' (eg. a kangaroo with six tails to symbolise the six States; a galloping emu heading south).
. The winning design was unveiled by the Countess of Hopetoun (wife of our first Governor-General) at a ceremony held at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne on September 3, 1901. Sir William Deane (our then Governor-General) officially proclaimed that September 3 each year be declared "Australian National Flag Day" - to 'commemorate the day in 1901 on which the Australian national flag was first flown'.
. Two out of the five prizewinners were teenagers (in fact only one of the winners was aged over 40).
. The Southern Cross (formally known as "Crux Australis") is a constellation that can be seen only in the night skies of the Southern Hemisphere. The individual stars are named by the first five letters of the Greek alphabet in order of brightness (clockwise from the bottom star) Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Epsilon.
. The Southern Cross has status in Aborignial mythology (eg. the legend of Mululu of the Kanda tribe).
. The Australian National Flag was raised for the first time at an Olympic Games in 1908 (London), celebrating a win for Australia in Rugby Union, at that time an Olympic event. (Although our flag had been in use for three years before the 1904 Olympics at St Louis (USA), the Australian "team" at the 1904 Games consisted of a single athlete who competed without success in the 110m hurdles!)
. The Australian National Flag is raised every morning at the school in Villers-Bretonneux in France, in memory of the thousands of Australian casualties in liberating their village in 1917 (during the First World War).(Additional information is available from the Australian National Flag Association of Queensland (Inc).