Flag of Australia
There have been several Australia flags over the years, but only one of them ever achieved official recognition as the flag of an independent nation.
The Modern Australia Flag
The modern Australia flag is a blue field with the Union Jack in the canton with the Commonwealth Star directly below it and five white stars on the fly which represent the Southern Cross constellation. The design was was developed in 1901 through a contest sponsored by an Australian newspaper after the six Australian colonies joined together into the Commonwealth of Australia, but it did not receive official recognition until significantly later. The Commonwealth Star had six points at the time, although it was replaced with the modern version in 1908, which has seven points. The Australian government recognized the final design as the Australia flag with the Flags Act of 1953.
Unofficial Australia Flags
There have been many other Australia flags, starting with the Union Flag of the British Empire, which was used when the first colonies were established in Australia. Although none of the other flags had any legal status until the Flags Act, some of them did come into common use as the Australian people started to develop a common identity apart from that of the British. The two most popular of those flags, the National Colonial Flag and the Australian Federation Flag, bear a strong resemblance to each other. Both feature white fields with the Union Jack in the canton and a cross decorated with stars dividing the field into four sections. The National Colonial Flag was the oldest of the two. It had a red cross with a single eight-point star in each of the cross' limbs. The Australian Federation flag developed slightly later and became more popular. It had a blue cross instead of a red one, and it added an additional star in the center of the cross.
There were several other unofficial Australia flags, but none of them ever became as popular as those two. The Anti-Transportation League, a political group that opposed Britain's policy of relocating criminals to Australia, produced the first flag to have stars arranged in the shape of the Southern Cross. The Eureka flag developed during a failed rebellion against British rule, and is notable in that it did not include the Union Jack.
Australia is a federal constitutional monarchy comprising of the continent of Australia. The national flag was introduced in 1901 and approved by the King of Great Britain in 1903. The upper right corner contains the British blue ensign. The blue field contains the 5 stars of the Southern Cross constellation*, and a sixth to represent the Commonwealth of Australia. Six points on the Commonwealth star represent the six external territories, and the seventh stands for the Northern Territory.
*The Southern Cross is the most distinctive constellation in the southern hemisphere. This bright constellation was used as a navigational aid by both the native islanders and the European discoverers. It is visible in the night sky south of the 30 degree North Latitude. It is featured on many of the flags of nations in the southern hemisphere.
- Capital of Australia: Canberra
- Area of Australia: 7,617,930 sq. km
- Languages used in Australia: English, Chinese, Italian
- Religions in Australia: Catholic, Anglican, other Christian, Buddhist, Muslim
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