Monday, 16 December 2013

CG3: Australia

As it is nearly Christmas and I don't think I'll be typing too much over the holidays and there are a few Commonwealth flags I want to write about before the Commonwealth Games begin, I think I should get a move on!
The next flag on my list is that of Australia:
According to the Australian Government website, the flag became the flag of Australia 1 January, 1901, when the Australian states became federal parts of a new commonwealth of Australia. However it did not gain official Royal Assent until 1954. So unlike other flags and as some people think, it is not something left over from the "colonial Days" (there was no colony known as Australia, but six separate British colonies which became the federal states). However as the Union Flag was used collectively by the former colonies, and despite its commonwealth status, I think its fair to say in 1901 Australia was still a dominion of empire or at least still maintained strong British links and influence. Likewise most of the colonies would have used their own versions of British ensigns on sea if not on land, and the Australian flag was evidently the next stage from that.
There are some who want a new flag primarily without the Union Jack, while others wish to keep it for historical, ancestral or cultural reasons, I can understand and respect both sides in this. In the commonwealth games quite a few nations and territories taking part have Union Jacks in their flags and it is from the view point of avoiding confusion that I think a new flag could be used, for the games at least.
Alterative Australia flags are nothing new, even before 1901, people were designing flags for an Australian nation such as the national colonial flag and similar federation flag and Eureka flag (below):
File:Eureka Flag.svg
In modern sport it is also not uncommon for the Australian fans to carry their own versions of the Australian flag, even if these are only in a fun sporting context, such as the boxing kangaroo flag that is easily available in flag shops:
Of course a flag like that couldn't be used in any formal or official context, however different flags are used in formal roles in sport. The Australian Football Federation has its own flag, although it is used alongside the Australian flag it does demonstrate the will of a formal 'sporting' flag:
I am not normally in favour of the use of coats of arms in flags however, I think the colour scheme makes a difference, If the text is removed and perhaps the complete coat of arms reduced to a shield, while not perfect I think this flag might have potential.
But the flag I would propose for the Commonwealth Games would be a simple flag in the green and gold sports colours with the Southern Cross and Commonwealth/Federal star:
However if you asked me to propose a new national flag then I would have to direct you to my favourite Australia flag proposal by Paul James on the Flags Forum:
Don't forget to look out for the "CG" in the title for more flag ideas and related posts in the count down to the 2014 Commonwealth Games. You can see past CG posts below

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