Australian National Flag Day

Australian National Flag Day celebrates the first time the flag was flown, over the dome of the Exhibition Building in Melbourne on 3 September 1901. On this day Australia’s first Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Sir Edmund Barton, announced the winners of a competition to design a national flag for Australia.

Recreation of a 1900 Australian Flag Design

3rd of September is an opportunity for all Australians to celebrate the anniversary of the Australian National Flag by flying or displaying the Flag.

In accordance with flag protocol, Australian Government departments and portfolio agencies are requested to fly or display the Australian National Flag on 3 September 2019 to join in the celebration of the Australian National Flag. If facilities permit, you may wish to consider displaying multiple Australian National Flags on this day. Other organisations are encouraged to follow this protocol.

3 September also marks Merchant Navy Day. It is an opportunity to remember the service and sacrifice of thousands of Australia’s merchant mariners during wartime. Organisations and individuals commemorating Merchant Navy Day may fly the Australian Red Ensign. When the Australian Red Ensign is flown along with the Australian National Flag, the Australian National Flag should be flown in the position of honour.

Additional information on how to celebrate Australian National Flag Day and the protocols for flying the flag can be found on the Department’s website at

The Australian flag can be broken up into three parts, that detail the Australian Journey:

The Union Jack represents the English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish who were sent to the end of the world, to create the six Australian colonies; New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia.

The Union Jack on our flag also represents the time when Australia wasn’t a unified country but a collection of colonies, that had separate laws, currency, and so on. The Union Jack reminds us of our Colonial Past, those who came to this land and pioneered our culture, our heritage; our Past.

The Federation Star represents the Australian colonies uniting into one Federation, turning the six colonies into one singular country. It is often represented as our Present.

The Southern Cross can be interpreted in numerous ways. Some interpret it as an Aboriginal symbol that Aboriginals used to navigate throughout the night. Others interpret it as Australia’s defining symbol, since the Southern Cross can only be seen by the Southern Hemisphere. But, a few others interpret the Southern Cross as Australia’s future, where we aspire to go and to pursue. The Southern Cross could very well, represent our Future.

Each one of those three parts of our flag, details the Australian Journey, all represented into three sections of our flag. No other flag can tell the story of its peoples past, who they are currently and what their future is, all on one piece of bunting. The Australian Flag is our most treasured national symbol, and flying the Flag is a way of showing pride in our nation and respect for our heritage.

Let the Flag fly!


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