The Australian Flag as we know it came into being on 1 January
1901 after the federation of the Australian States into the
Commonwealth of Australia.
A public competition was held in 1900 for the design of the flag
and over 30,000 entries were received.
The Prime Minister of Australia, Sir Edmund Barton, announced
that five entrants who had submitted similar designs were to
share the prize money - They received 40 pounds each.
Although selected in 1901 and gazetted in 1903, the flag was not
given Royal assent and adopted as the definitive Australian flag
until 1954 in the Flags Act .
The Commonwealth Blue Ensign design is based on the Blue
Ensign of the United Kingdom, is twice as long as it is wide, and
consists of a dark blue background that can be notionally divided
into four quadrants.
The flag consists of three main elements:
The Union Jack in the upper hoist quadrant or first quarter (also
know as a Canton), denoting Australia's historical links with Great
Britain. The Union Jack itself is composed of red and white
intersecting vertical and diagonal crosses on a blue background.
The Southern Cross is on the right hand side of the flag in the
second quarter and fourth quarter combined. The constellation
consists of five stars in a kite-like pattern - Alpha Crucis (7-point),
Beta Crucis (7-point), Gamma Crucis (7-point), Delta Crucis (7-
point) and the smaller Epsilon Crucis (5-point). The outer
diameter of each of the 4 major stars is 1/7 the width of the fly
and the inner diameter is 4/9 of the outer diameter; the diameter
of Epsilon Crucis is 1/12 the width of the fly and the inner
diameter is 4/9 the outer diameter.
The constellation of the Southern Cross is a significant
navigational feature of the southern hemisphere and has been
associated with the Australian continent since the earliest days of
the continent's discovery.
The Commonwealth Star or Star of Federation is central in the
third quarter or lower hoist. The star has seven points to denote
the six states and the combined territories of the Commonwealth.
The seventh point was added in 1909. The outer diameter is 3/5
the width of the Union Jack (3/10 the width of the fly) and the
inner diameter is 4/9 the outer diameter.
The Australian Flag