The Australian flag was first flown on third September 1901, and hence the third of September is now the official Australian flag day. The flag design was a result of a competition with over thirty two thousand (32,000) Australians submitting entries. The winning design was attributed to five entries, as they were all similar. Each winner received forty pounds each from the prize pool that had been put up by the Government, a Melbourne publication called “Review of Reviews for Australasia” and a tobacco company. There was some controversy as the design was similar to the Victorian state flag of the time and the allegation was that it was “To Victorian”. In the following years some minor modifications were made to the design of the flag, including the addition of an extra point to the Federation star, and the simplifying of the stars of the Southern Cross, initially they had different numbers of points in order to show the star's relative brightness. The official design of the Australian flag was published in 1934 in the Commonwealth Gazette.
Look here for larger specification of Australian flag.
There are certain protocols that should be observed when flying the Australian flag, the Australian Government has a website that details these protocols, https://www.pmc.gov.au/government/australian-national-flag/australian-national-flag-protocols
Two important days in Australia where correct flag protocol is important are:
- ANZAC Day (25 April) the flag is flown at half-mast until noon.
- Remembrance Day (11 November) flags are flown at peak until 10:30 am, at half-mast from 10:30 am to 11:03 am, then at peak for the remainder of the day.
When flying a flag at half mast, it should be lowered at least one third of the flagpole height. The Australian flag when flown at night should be illuminated and should never be flown at half mast at night.
There have been numerous attempts by politicians to criminalise the desecration of the Australian flag starting in 1953 and most recently in 2006 which was brought about by a couple of flag burning incidents, including the Cronulla riots of 2005. All the flag protection bills introduced to parliament have lapsed.
Atop of Parliament House in Canberra is a large Australian National flag measuring 12.8 by 6.4 metres (in years gone by this would have been referred to as a 14yard flag). The flag itself weighs approximately 15 kg. The flag flies constantly, being illuminated at night.
Image Attribution: Thennicke / CC BY-SA