The colonies of Australia federated to become a single Commonwealth in 1901. That year, Australia’s first Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Sir Edmund Barton announced an international competition to design a flag for the new nation. It attracted 32,823 entries. Five near-identical entries were awarded equal first and the designers shared the £200 prize.
The Australian National Flag was flown for the first time in September 1901 at the Exhibition Building in Melbourne, the seat of the federal government at the time.
The Australian National Flag can be flown every day of the year. As the nation’s foremost symbol, the flag should be used with respect and dignity.
Some flag tips
- The Australian flag should always be raised first and lowered last when displayed with other flags.
- The flag must not be allowed to fall or lie on the ground.
- The flag must be illuminated if it is flown at night.
- The flag should be hung so the Union Jack is always in the uppermost left corner.
- The flag should never be flown in a damaged, faded, or dilapidated condition.
- The flag should be raised no earlier than first light and lowered no later than dusk.
- The flag should not be flown upside down, even as a signal of distress.
Further details on flag raising ceremonies, orders of precedence, half-masting of the flag and using the Australian flag image is available at the It’s an Honour website.